Providing source for .iso files downloaded using bittorrent
the request to stop redistributing Debian in Germany sparked an
interesting conversation in identi.ca:
In that conversation Bradley Kuhn said:
bkuhn @vinzv, Please note: *technically speaking*, !Debian
project itself violates !GPlv2 w/ #torrent distribution too!
All who use it infringe ©.
Richard Fontana does not agree:
fontana @bkuhn I think to some degree you are engaging in
#FUD on the # bittorrent !GPL issue
Asking Bradley for some clarification he said:
bkuhn @mem, problem is question of informing #torrent users
when source/binary torrents are separate. See !GPLv3 §6(e) &
various supporting docs.
The best thing I was able to find to provide some light into the
mem @bkuhn ah, here:
http://gplv3.fsf.org/bittorrent-dd2.pdf/view #torrent #gpl
Now, back to the Debian case, Bradley seems to think that
providing a method to download the source (e.g. apt-get source)
is not enough. If I understand it correctly, he's saying we
must do something extra to comply with GPLv2§3: a) provide the
source *in* the .iso; b) provide a written offer and all that;
or c) show that we have a written offer from upstream. a) is
not going to happen, we don't have c) in the general case so b)
it is (from his point of view).
My interpretation of the whole thing is that in order to comply
with the terms of the GPLv2, we should put yet another file,
README.GPLv2, in the .iso explaining how to obtain the sources
and accompany that with the offer to provide source for three
years, etc, etc, etc per GPLv2§3(b).
I have to say that I'm still not 100% clear on how the violation
is happening, but this was obviously a real concern during the
drafting of the GPLv3, since the new version does contain
clauses meant to deal with this. If I'm not mistaken our very
own MRJ raised the issue during that process.
My own concern is that when using Bittorrent, the people
downloading the .iso start distributing the software *before*
they had a chance to read the license. By redistributing you
are already excersicing your rights under the GPLv2, which means
you have accepted all the terms and conditions.
What do you think?