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Re: Brief update about software freedom and artificial intelligence

On Fri, 24 Feb 2023 at 00:16, M. Zhou <lumin@debian.org> wrote:
> Hi folks,
> Recap:
> The modern practice of AI has blurred the boundary between the code and data,
> which leads to some potential ambiguity to the interpretation of the definition of
> open source as well as the respective licenses. Such ambiguous interpretation
> in fact deviates from and violates the spirit of free software.

Hi folks and Zhou,

 cloud technologies posed a challenge to the GPLv2 because under that
license everyone has the right to change the code but do not share it
as long as s/he uses it internally which is exactly how the SaaS
works. To fulfil this lack of freedom, the GPLv3 was proposed.

 Unfortunately, the GPLv3 adoption did not spread into the community.
Or fortunately because almost every company involved in cloud adopted
the software-libre as their prefered solution. This gave the community
a huge hype, such a kind of hype that made the software-libre a big
thing. Then the A.I. comes and everything is going to change again.

 The A.I. is a great challenge for humanity, especially because of the
ethical approach which requires. Ethics is not an option because there
are a lot of things that can go wrong with A.I. - last but not least
their use. The next challenge is about who is going to control this
technology: a proprietary solution under the control of a single
company or a companies cartel under the same nation flag. This will
easily bring us to see a strong concentration which means: 1. no
freedom, 2. no equality, 3. no innovation because of the lack of
competition. The worst is the lack of freedom because everything else
depends on it.

 There are two ways to go, mainly:

 1. changing the GPLv3 in such a way will cover the A.I. topics;
 2. a brand new specific license for this topic.

In this e-mail, I will present my proposal about using GPLv3 to
address the new challenges that come with the A.I. - My opinion is
that GPLv3 applied to a composition is a novelty based on two known
legal standards that can fit our needs of freedom with A.I. also.

 a) GPLv3 in its last revision has been available since 29 June 2007
and this means that every law studio in the world had the time to
deeply study and understand it. In a conservative sector like legal
consultancy, every novelty based on a well-known past is welcomed -
might or might not be lovely accepted but this is completely another

 b) Under the Copyright Act, a compilation is defined as a "collection
and assembling of preexisting materials or of data that are selected
in such a way that the resulting work as a whole constitutes an
original work of authorship." (1996)

 Combining these two well known pieces of law, we can obtain - not a
new license but - a new way to use the GPLv3: apply the GPLv3 to the
composition despite the fact that single pieces of codes or data are
licensed. This is obviously a great advantage because changing the
license for every {piece of code} and {set of data} is not feasible
and if it would be necessary it wil be a nightmare on the legal point
of view.

 This is a project of mine that uses the GPLv3 to protect a {set,
pool, collection, combination, composition} of files, everyone with
its own license. Whatever the license has a file, the composition
could be protected as software-libre by the GPLv3.


 I hope this helps the community to easily find a solution for our
freedom needs and set a standard into A.I. licensing. For sake of
completeness, I am adding that section here below the signature.

 Best regards, R-


Almost all the files are under MIT license or GPLv3 and the others are
in the public domain. Instead, the composition of these files is
protected by the GPLv3 license.

Copyright Act, title 17. U.S.C. § 101.

Under the Copyright Act, a compilation [NDR: "composition" is used
here as synonym because compilation might confuse the reader about
code compiling] is defined as a "collection and assembling of
preexisting materials or of data [NDR: source code, as well] that are
selected in such a way that the resulting work as a whole constitutes
an original work of authorship."

This means that everyone can use a single MIT licensed file or a part
of it under the MIT license terms. Instead, using two of them or two
parts of them implies that you are using a subset of this collection.
Thus a derived work of this collection which is licensed under the
GPLv3 also.

The GPLv3 license applies to the composition unless you are the
original copyright owner or the author of a specific unmodified file.
This means that every one that can legally claim rights about the
original files maintains its rights, obviously. So, it should not need
to complain with the GPLv3 license applied to the composition. Unless,
the composition is adopted for the part which had not the rights,

The copyright notice, the license and the author is reported in each
file header, here summarised:

colors.shell: MIT
isatty_override.c: MIT
git-commit-edit: public domain
git-isar-send-patch: GPLv3
git.functions: GPLv3
cr-editor.sh: GPLv3
install.sh: GPLv3

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