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Re: CC's responses to v3draft comments

Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>
> On Sep 27, 2006, at 18:14, MJ Ray wrote:
> > [...] 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.
> The mutable copy doesn't help much if the platform is designed to  
> refuse to run modified versions.

I disagree.  It helps by advertising that mutability to users who are
otherwise trapped by the platform they are using - it shows them that
there is a world outside the Windows of their prison.  It also lets
them modify it as soon as they get a fully-working platform.  It's an
incentive to make a better choice next time.

> > I think saying no would be arguing against porting free software
> > to Microsoft Windows [...]
> If you get the source of e.g. Firefox or Gimp and modify the source  
> and recompile for Windows, Windows will still run your own versions  
> without you having to ask Microsoft to sign your binaries.

On the Windows computer I tried to help most recently by giving its user
free software, the system complained bitterly that an unsigned binary
was being installed.  I understand it is possible for the sysadmin to
lock them out.  Do you think it would help to ban users of those systems
from running Gimp and IceWeasel? (Firefox is already not 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.
> Are you sure? The existing collection of free software is already so  
> valuable that companies choose to build products on it complying with  
> the licensing terms.

I'm fairly sure.  Still now, some companies who build products on free
software try to find a way to take our fruits to the other side and
deny users the freedoms they should have - tivo and some routers IIRC.
Also, we're really talking about the platform owners rather than the
independent developers.

> Also, what good it is to have population on "our" side if they aren't  
> de facto able to exercise freedom because the platform owner refuses  
> to bless their modification?

They may choose to migrate in the future.  Once informed, they know
there is a choice to make when they buy their next platform.

Think about it: why do controllers of some closed countries try to
prevent their residents from visiting more open countries?  We must
not collude with those wannabe-dictators to hide our state from the
view of their potential victims.  We should set up our equivalents
of the World Services, Radio Free X and 'Voice of...' - unnecessary
blanket bans hinder this.  Use counter-measures, not prohibitions.

> >> 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.
> If I want to fix a small thing, I should have the freedom to install  
> and run my replacement version on the *same* platform as the  
> original. I shouldn't have to acquire a substitute platform and port  
> to it to exercise my supposed freedom.

Indeed you shouldn't.  Running on the same platform is something which
the platform owner has denied you the right to do and it sucks.  It
would suck double if the work's licensor also denies you that right.

You shouldn't have to port it yourself to a modify-friendly system:
that is why I believe the parallel distribution is desirable.

> I am in no way advocating any language that would prohibit the  
> application of TPM in private. I think recipients of copies of works  
> should be allowed mash the works any way they wish in private.

OK.  I look forward to you making this point when requesting a change in
the current CC draft.

> [...] I thought Debian developers were more of a GPL crowd  
> interested in protecting downstream freedom than a BSD crowd  
> interested in their own freedom to do whatever.

We're probably a mix of those (not online while writing, so I can't
check the demographic surveys linked from
http://people.debian.org/~mjr/surveys.html to see if they've counted)
and TPM-bans both limit and help both freedoms in several ways.

> > 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.
> Does the GPL allow you to buy GNU readline integration service for  
> e.g. AFPL Ghostscript from a middle-man? I don't think so. Still, you  
> can do the work in private.

I think it depends on the AFPL and I've not studied that recently,
but I don't see an obvious problem: as the hirer in a work-for-hire,
the copyright in the derived work would be yours, so it still seems
essentially the same as doing the work in private.  Maybe, you just
can't distribute the result.

Also, I don't see the relevance of this situation: it is deriving a
new work based on both readline and Ghostscript, rather than using
some encoding/compilation tools to adapt one work.  Does the GPL
allow you to buy readline objects generated by a non-free-software
compiler from a middle-man?

> > Should we accept as free software a program under a licence which does
> > not allow licensees to distribute compiled files?
> No, but disassembly and decompilation is even specifically allowed by  
> law in some cases. And when the law doesn't specifically allow it if  
> the license allows it, a prosecutor won't come after you.

I wouldn't recommend anyone try a "it's against the law, but no
prosecutor will care" tactic.  The penalties are too nasty and the
case law too small.

It is possible that TPM analysis and circumvention may be specifically
allowed by law in some cases after the next update (AIUI blind charities,
libraries and archives are asking for it and they are powerful lobbies).
If that happens, should we then reject CC 3.0's TPM-bans as non-free?

> > The correct way to fix this is for CC to require source code, not
> > prohibit compiled code.
> That is currently impractical with music and movies.

So distribution of such music and movies will merely be currently
impractical, not infringing.  Why would that be a problem?

> >> (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\"
> So what is the purpose of DRM if not to create contrived technical  
> barriers that limit the freedom of whoever receives a copy of a work?

It can be to provide information about the rights licensing.  Parts of
Dublin Core can be used with tools and defined vocabularies to produce
innocent DRM systems.

> > 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\".
> How is that a lie? [...]

TPMs are not the only DRM.

Hope that explains,
My Opinion Only: see http://people.debian.org/~mjr/
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