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Re: Hacking License

On Tue, 11 Dec 2018 at 13:06, Paul Jakma <paul@jakma.org> wrote:
> On Tue, 11 Dec 2018, Giacomo Tesio wrote:
> > The point is, made available to whom?
> To anyone.
> Unless there is some really compelling reason the modifier can not make
> their changes available (desert island, dissident), why not just require
> they make the changes available - given how easy it is to distribute
> software these days?

This is not a binary state, either easy to distribute or impossible to.
The world is large and the bandwidth you assume is not cheap or easily
available to everyone.

> The more options are given for not distributing modifications widely,
> the more opportunity there is for abusers to find loop-holes.

That's why the Hacking License give right upstream.
In the moment an abuser abuse the license, all his rights are terminated.
But the right obtained by others still holds, including the copyright
assignment and the patent licenses on the abuser's work.

Now think about it: would you sue a competitor that simply uses the
rights you have granted him through the adoption of a software under
the Hacking License (and that you have violated in the first place)?
I guess this would be a pretty complex position to hold in court.

> Making available != getting integrated upstream.

This is an oversimplification: by making available a severe zero-day
fix that would likely to get lost among the thousands of "newly
available" patches of the week, you might set up a blame campaign on
the upstream hackers that are "unable to live up to their success".

Free Software is a gift. I want it to remain a gift.
As such it cannot become a burden on those who donate.

> > - it would disincentive hack for personal purpose for the burden to
> > prepare a 3rd party readable patch
> No.
> Copyleft usually only regulates and imposes conditions upon distribution
> (so long as the licence is adhered to generally). The conditions on
> making the sources available are imposed only if one wishes to
> distribute the work.

AGPLv3 also poses a condition to the execution: beyond the wording, if
you make a covered work available across a network (a use) you have to
make the sources available to the users.
The Hacking License is simpler: as a condition to the all the grants
provided, you should make the source available to any User (as defined
in the License itself).

> If "personal hack" means "no distribution to others", then there's no
> obligation to make the modifications public.

If you write a personal hack of `wc` that counts the sentences in your
language and you give ssh access to your machine to your little
brother that is still a personal hack.
Same for your grampa. When it stop being a personal hack and you have
to publish the patch somehow?

According to the Hacking License, it's perfectly fine to do just let
users access the modified sources.

> > In both case, strictly applied, such rule would create weird practical
> > issues to free software.
> I think you're objections were not with what I had imagined. ;)

Maybe. :-)

Despite its evidence, may people cannot see the parallel between
writing in Ancient Egypt and information technology today.
So they tend to discard issues that will arise when programming will
be easy and diffused as it's writing today.

> > That's why the Hacking License assigns copyright and patent license
> > upstream but without turning upstream copyright holders into Users.
> That does not require the modifier to make the modifications available
> to the upstream, or anyone though.

No, the modifier must make the modifications available only to their Users.

> > They can also become users, obviously, but they can also just benefit
> > from the copyright assignment and patent license to reimplement
> > similar behavior without legal issues.
> How would I benefit from copyright assignment in modifications to my
> code, if I can never get (perhaps never even know about) those
> modifications?

If you add time into the equation, it should be easy to see.
As time goes on, someone able and interested to spread the
modifications might share them with you.
Or you might be informed about the inner working of the modifications
without being able to see the change yourself.
In any case you would have the right to reproduce such change if you
feel so inclined.

This however is particularly interesting if someone try to use a SaaSS
to make modifications privates.
If you can deduce the changes, you have the rights (including patent
licenses) to introduce them.
And you can transfer such rights to third parties with the Derived Work.

> Note that one _already_ gets a copyright interest in any modifications
> to one's work (GPLed or whatever), if those modifications constitute a
> derived work. (In at least some jurisdictions).
> Just being a copyright holder in some derived work of one's own work is
> not per se sufficient to ensure one can get access to that derived work
> though.

Right, but it can make very hard to sue you for copyright or patent
violation if they violate the license loosing any right they have
granted to you first by simply becoming Users of your software.


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