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Re: Is the RAR archiver freely distributable?

Gunnar Wolf <gwolf@gwolf.org> writes:

> Dmitry Alexandrov dijo [Wed, Nov 09, 2016 at 12:19:19AM +0300]:
> > Are ‘key recovery tools’ illegal somewhere? Tools for circumventing
> > digital restristions measures definitely are.
> If you use them on files you legally own, they are legal. They will be
> illegal for cracking content for which you should not have access.

Another way of saying that is: The tool isn't legal or illegal. It is
specific *actions* by persons that is restricted by law.

> The tool cannot differentiate, it can only do its job.

Likewise, AFAIK the law doesn't make a tool illegal, only specific

This is why it's of primary interest how the freedoms *of the recipient*
are affected, by the restrictions on a work proposed for Debian.

Also of interest are whether the Debian Project is legally permitted to
redistribute the work at all.

The question of “what is the recipient restricted from doing, and does
that restriction violate the DFSG?” involves whether executing the tool
is legal. The answer for the case under discussion is probably “if you
break the law, that action was illegal; if you use it otherwise,
probably not”.

That's what Gunnar's answer above is getting to. There isn't a question
about whether the tool “is legal”, only what actions are restricted. A
Debian recipient can get a tool that was distributed quite legally by
the Debian Project, and then choose to use it in a way that violates a
law. By itself, that doesn't mean the Debian Project has violated any
law; and it doesn't mean the restriction violates the DFSG.

There is a quite separate question of “what is the Debian Project
legally restricted from distributing?” I believe there are
actively-enforced patents on DVD-CSS that prohibit distribution of, for
example, free software that opens files encrypted with that scheme. If
the Debian Project distributes such a tool, it *is* violating an
actively-enforced law.

That is, clearly, a very different restriction that doesn't even involve
DFSG, and makes the tool not redistributable at all by the Debian

 \      “Be careless in your dress if you must, but keep a tidy soul.” |
  `\                              —Mark Twain, _Following the Equator_ |
_o__)                                                                  |
Ben Finney

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