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Re: Github TOS effecting change to copylefts?

On Wed, Mar 08, 2017 at 07:46:29AM +0100, Ulrich Mueller wrote:
> >>>>> On Tue, 7 Mar 2017, Gunnar Wolf wrote:
> > The best analysis of this situation I have read so far is the one in
> > Noodles' blog:
> >     https://www.earth.li/~noodles/blog/2017/03/github-tos-change.html
> IMHO that analysis misses one point. Namely, in section D.4 "License
> Grant to Us" the Github ToS have:
> "That means you're giving us the right to do things like reproduce
> your content [...]; modify it [...]"
> Which requires that any file uploaded to Github must come with the
> permission to modify it. Not a problem for free software, one would
> think. However, if your package is GPL licensed then you cannot
> include the COPYING file itself, because it would be in conflict with
> above terms.
> "Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this
> license document, but changing it is not allowed."

You're subtly omitting what the "modify it" applies to, though... the
text reads: "modify it (so our server can do things like parse it into a
search index)".

Now, let's go back in time a few weeks, before that ToS existed. What do
you think github was doing with all the files there are in github
repositories, to have the search function working? Has anything changed
about that in the past 2 weeks? No.

Now, the question is: 2 weeks ago, was github legally allowed to do it?
Whoever wrote that ToS thinks that was a rather gray area that needed

So, if the new ToS doesn't allow you to put something on github, ask
yourself this question: were you actually legally allowed to put it on
github in the first place?

(That said, I don't think parsing a document into a search index falls
into "changing it is not allowed", which applies to distributing copies
of the file ; although one could be anal about it and say that
formatting it in HTML is distributing a modified copy)


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