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Re: Bug#689095: Forces user to agree to terms of usage before running

Leo 'costela' Antunes <costela@debian.org> writes:

> In the version of the transmission bittorrent client in wheezy there is
> a disclaimer popup displayed on the first run, basically telling the
> user "your responsibility", but with an "agree" button which may make it
> look more like an additional license.

Thanks for taking seriously the freedom of Debian recipients.

> My questions:
> 1) does this qualify as breaking point 7 of the DFSG? (or, in fact, any
> other point I may have overlooked).

I haven't looked at the code nor its behaviour, so am going by your

You say the behaviour “may make it look more like an additional
license”. An additional license grants permissions, so that isn't a
problem at all. I assume you mean “may make it look like the recipient
needs an additional license”.

If so, that's a concern, definitely; but that alone would not violate
the DFSG. If it actually constitutes an effective requirement of the
user to execute an additional license, that is a violation of DFSG §7.

So there are two matters: Does this actually constitute a violation of
DFSG §7? and, Does this give a false impression of requiring something
from the recipient which is not actually required?

The former would be a severe violation of policy. The latter is less
severe and just needs to be improved.

> If yes, would renaming the button to something like "I understand"
> improve the situation?

I think that, regardless of the answers to the above, improving the
message to be clearer would be an improvement.

> 2) upstream probably does this to try and shift liability. Obviously
> IANAL, but does this even make sense? Do we have any precedence to
> convince upstream to drop this annoyance on the grounds that it's
> useless? (and here I'm hoping it *is* useless)

I share your hope, and your ignorance on this matter. I would like to
hear from qualified legal experts for an informed answer.

> 3) this may be a question for -devel, but do we have a public stand on
> click-through disclaimers or even EULAs? Somewhere we could point
> upstream for the pros/cons/consequences of such things?

Well, you can start with the DFSG and social contract, which is as short
and fundamental to the Debian Project as it gets. Any stand against
click-wrap and EULA and the like would have firm support from DFSG §7.

 \          “Those who write software only for pay should go hurt some |
  `\                 other field.” —Erik Naggum, in _gnu.misc.discuss_ |
_o__)                                                                  |
Ben Finney

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