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Re: CC's responses to v3draft comments

Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi> wrote:
> On Oct 1, 2006, at 21:51, MJ Ray wrote:
> > Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>
> >> 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 believe having a compelling body of content with anti-TPM language  
> attached as a disincentive for creating TPM-only platforms is more  
> important than being able to publish *effectively* non-free copies of  
> *theoretically* free works as adverts of non-TPM-only platforms.

Fine, but that is not the same as it not helping much.  I disagree
with your priorities, I don't think the anti-TPM body of content
is yet compelling and I don't think parallel-distributed copies
are effectively non-free.  In fact, I dislike the whole debate about
effective freedoms: I believe they may be weasel words which seek to
deny some freedoms which used to be given for free software.

> >> 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?
> I believe that the owner of the computer should be free to use  
> cryptographic signatures to verify the origin of the software they  
> install and to select their installation sources.  If the originator 
> of the platform locks down these decisions, the owner of the computer  
> is deprived of freedom and that is wrong.

Both of those seem fine, but have little to do with the question.
I did not ask about the computer's owner.  Do you think it would help
to ban *users* of those systems from running Gimp and IceWeasel?

> This case is clear-cut as long as the owner of the computer is the  
> user. In cases of e.g. universities, I consider the university as a  
> whole as a legal entity making choices for itself as opposed to the  
> admins being separate entities distributing software to the students.  
> I believe that e.g. for interpreting the GPL, it is customary to  
> consider a university or a company as a whole, so they don't need to  
> provide source to their internal users.

I thought it was that no distribution had occurred and the act of running
the program is not restricted, but if the university distributes IceWeasel
to students, then it should comply with the GPL as normal.

If the act of running the program were restricted, do you think it would
help to ban *users* of those systems from running Gimp and IceWeasel
when they are not free to modify, recompile and run?

> >>> 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.
> It seems to me that e.g. Nokia and IBM are complying with GPLv2,  
> because the software they can get that way is more valuable to them  
> than following their previous proprietary instinct would be.

Nokia and IBM are large corportations that both seem to play all sides
of the fences (see swpat.ffii.org about Nokia, for example).  GNU is 20+
years old, yet is still not compelling enough to put them entirely on
"our" side if an Iron Curtain was drawn down.  I believe that the CC
body of work is younger and more divided in terms (there is no one
CCPL), so it is less compelling.

> > 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.
> Sure, anti-TPM language in licensing is about taking the users of TPM- 
> only platforms as hostages for leverage against TPM-only platform  
> providers. Your victimization scenario assumes that users of TPM-only  
> platforms cans only get information about non-TPM-only platforms  
> though the platform itself.

I only make the weaker assumption that TPM-only platforms are the most
effective way to reach users of TPM-only platforms.  Isn't it obvious?

> However, in practice they can hear about  
> alternatives in the world through other channels. But to continue  
> with you metaphor, the BBC was able to broadcast into Communist  
> countries without the permission of the governments of such  
> countries. If you want to ship advertisements onto a TPM-only  
> platform itself, you need the cooperation of the platform owner.

Cooperation, not permission.  For the broadcasters, that cooperation
came through things like the ITU and the availability of common reception

Also, discussion of "the platform owner" confuses a TPM-only platform
with a platform monopoly.  Why assume that a TPM-only platform is a
platform monopoly?

> >> 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.
> Basically you made the middle-man part of the other legal entity so  
> that there's no longer a middle-man in the scenario.

I made no such thing.  As explained, it was a work for hire.  Maybe the
scenario attempted does not exist.

> > 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?
> If the compiler is not corrupt, the object code will behave like  
> object code generated by a free compiler. TPM encoding changes how  
> the work behaves. That's why the compiler analogy is flawed. [...]

It will behave like it for some value of 'like'.  It may be radically
optimised in a different way.

TPM encoded work does not behave either.  It's how other tools
behave when they interpret that marking that matters.

Also, from the first, debian-cc only described the compiler analogy
as similar, not equivalent.  Its flaws are not news: it's just a
helpful explanation device.

> >>> 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.
> My whole point was that disassembly and decompilation is not against  
> the law if you are disassembling e.g. object code covered by LGPL.  
> That is, disassemblers as such are not (yet) illegal like un-TPM-ing  
> tools are.
> > 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?
> Allowing circumvention becomes relevant only when it is allowed for  
> everyone and distributing the tools is allowed for everyone at which  
> point applying TPM in the first place would be pointless and the TPM  
> could not be "effective" any more in any sense.

The CC 3.0 draft prohibition I saw last was not limited to effective
TPM.  One of my suggestions was to limit it in that way.

> >>> 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?
> Because some people want to be practical today.

In that case, make distribution both practical and non-infringing.
I can't see how making it infringing makes it any more practical.

> However, I think that such metadata "DRM" is not innocent when it is  
> protected by law as it is now in Finland. It wouldn't be nice to be  
> exposed to a liability because the image editor you happened to use  
> trashed some metadata you didn't even know was there.

Then that image editor is not nice.  I don't think this is new, or a
"contrived technical barrier".  You may be exposed to a liability if
the C source editor you use replaces any metadata headers with your
metadata header.  The DRM aspect seems fairly innocent.

> Would you not call them lies if I had done s/DRM/TPM/ ?

Probably not.

My Opinion Only: see http://people.debian.org/~mjr/
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