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Re: CC's responses to v3draft comments

Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi> wrote:
> But is it good for Free Software to be ported to platforms that have  
> been designed to deprive both developers and end users of freedom?

Yes, as long as a mutable copy is available to developers and end
users, because it widens the audience who will see free software
and may become interested in its development and advancement.

I think saying no would be arguing against porting free software
to Microsoft Windows, which is a platform designed to deprive both
developers and end users of freedom when it increases revenue for
Microsoft - see the current moves that lock out third-party
security software, for example, or the DRM features, or product
activation keys.  However, free software on Microsoft Windows is
many (most?) users' introduction to free software.

TPM-bans are a sort of digital Iron Curtain - these platforms may
have this free software; those ones may not.  It's tactically
stupid too - the population on "our" side of the Iron Curtain is
not yet sufficiently compelling to deter more neutral platforms from
joining the other side.  I prefer allowing "our" population to cross
the border and plunder as much as the authorities on the closed side
permit - that includes letting any subsidised TPM-platforms to play
TPM-subverted content. It's not just economies of scale that makes
an iSuck player cheaper than an Ogg one: if your player doesn't
iSuck, the iSuck platform owner can never make money from you.

> If a gaming platform requires FooBigCo to sign software before it  
> runs, exercising freedom as in Free Software on that platform is de  
> facto prevented on a desert island.

Depends if the FooBigCo platform is the only platform on the island,
but discussing desert islands too much usually brings a d'Itri-flame.

> However, if an iSuck player only  
> played TPM files but anyone could convert non-TPM files to TPM files  
> privately, requiring distribution to happen in a non-TPM format and  
> requiring iSuck owners to apply TPM themselves wouldn't be any more  
> onerous than the GPL allowing certain action only in private.

Indeed.  Sadly, CC's anti-TPM language may(*) prohibit iSuck owners
applying TPM themselves, as the copy would violate the licence and the
anti-TPM measure is not limited to distribution.  (* - it's not entirely
clear to me, due to the recent comments and refusal to explain.)

> I find it strange that Debian is so vigorously defending this fringe  
> use case.

Why?  Many debian developers want to copy all sorts of things to all
sorts of media in all sorts of ways.

> The anti-TPM language is designed to limit the freedom of a  
> middle man so that the middle-man isn't allowed to limit downstream  
> freedom.  GPL is precedent that it can be free in the DFSG sense to  
> limit the freedom of middle-men so that they aren't allowed to limit  
> downstream freedom.

One could only appeal to the GPL precedent if the anti-TPM language
allowed parallel distribution, else it is also limiting the freedom of the
end user to get the TPM-encoding service from a middle-man if they choose.
It is obviously possible to let users get TPM-encoding from a middle-man
without letting them give up their freedom, just as you can get GPL'd
binaries from someone else.

> Since the CC licenses don't require distribution of the preferred  
> form for making modification aka. source code, it is essential that  
> downstream recipient can extract works for modification and  
> redistribution without violating any law that protects TPM. I think  
> that it makes sense for CC licenses to have anti-TPM language and I  
> don't think that anti-TPM language should make a license non-free.

Should we accept as free software a program under a licence which does
not allow licensees to distribute compiled files?

The correct way to fix this is for CC to require source code, not
prohibit compiled code.

> (More on this: http://hsivonen.iki.fi/free-anti-drm/ )

I feel that essay contains lies such as "The entire purpose of DRM
[...] is to incarcerate a work and to deprive the recipient of the work
of the freedom to do things with the work without contrived technical
barriers" and "entangling a work in DRM puts the recipient at the risk
of criminal prosecution if he exercises his freedoms otherwise granted by
the license".  Also, it should be no surprise to anyone that your
selection of the arguments against TPM-bans seem like strawmen.

I don't like DRM and have spoken against DRM at international events.
The anti-DRM argument is strong enough without lies and strawmen.

Hope that explains,
My Opinion Only: see http://people.debian.org/~mjr/
Please follow http://www.uk.debian.org/MailingLists/#codeofconduct

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