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Re: Is AGPLv3 DFSG-free?

On Wed, Sep 3, 2008 at 2:23 AM, Don Armstrong <don@debian.org> wrote:

We only distribute source at the instant we distribute the binary. We
(generally[1]) don't distribute the source after we've stopped
distributing the binary. The AGPL requires distribution of source at
any time that the application is used. The GPL does not.

The AGPLv3 only requires the distribution of /modified/ source.

If Debian distributes their packaged version, and that version is served by a 3rd party for other users unmodified, that 3rd party is not bound by the distribution terms of section 13.  Note the phrase "if you modify the Program".

If Debian no longer distributes the binaries and source for that version, the requirements of that 3rd party are unchanged.  Debian is hardly an agent making modifications on the behalf of the 3rd party.

If the 3rd party modifies the source, they're required to host their modified version regardless.  In this way, unless Debian is hosting modified applications for remote users to interact with, the AGPLv3 is identical to the GPLv3 in the manner and requirements for Debian.

Further, I do not read in the license that distribution of source *must* happen when the application is used.  You have to make it available on a remote server, that is all.  That server goes down, yes it's a problem you need to solve, but it's not like the lawyers come out. 

Someone tries to download it, finds the link broken, sends you an email, you fix it, no big deal.  If some copyright holder was insane enough to start with involving lawyers the situation could surely be solved long before the issue ended up in court.

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