Questions / Concepts GPL. Was: Re: GPL License with clause for Web use?

simo simo.sorce at
Thu Nov 22 18:15:01 UTC 2007

On Thu, 2007-11-22 at 17:17 +0000, Sam Liddicott wrote:
> > Under AGPL this kind of use is considered distribution or conveyance.
> >   
> But is it considered so under copyright law? 

Believe it or not it is hard to tell for me.
For example you should first say "which" copyright law :-)
And even then I am sure the language is so vague it needs judicial

> No, but I can (and do claim) that what many license adaptors have
> considered "user" to mean does not include users of services provided
> by the software. Mostly because they never considered it before. 

I am not sure about that, but you probably know more than me about "web
apps". I'll just notice that many web sites not connected to free
software tend to have "use terms, or use conditions" so I think it is
understood that users of web services are indeed "users".

> > It really depends on what you consider distribution.
> >   
> It really depends on what the enforcers of copyright law in a
> particular jurisdiction consider distribution. 

Yeah, very difficult to say, and that's what I meant with "you".

> > > Is this based on copyright permissions required to "install" the
> > > software? Or does 13 affect non-distributing service providers?
> > >     
> > 
> > Copyright law is not clear enough and is too old to clearly define
> > distribution in the digital age.
> >   
> and, the same for the word "user" I feel. 

Definitely, in US law the term "use" is often so vague.

> > The answer is not simple at all, AGPL has one answer, GPL has the other
> > one, that's why it make sense they both exist.
> >   
> and this is why it also looks like (to so many) that the FSF may be
> changing core values, because they came down on the wrong side of a
> difficult and complex question. 

"changing core values" depends on what you think they are, I don't think
they are changing anything.

> > Once this is accepted, whether you like AGPL or not, then the matter is:
> > is it so bad that GPLv3 can be used by such projects?
> > 
> >   
> I want them to use it, I just want modifications to the GPL3 part to
> be GPL3 licensed. Thats why I propose the AGPL link-exception
> alternative to GPL3/13 

I believe the license already mean what you would like it to be, I asked
for advice, we will se what the FSF thinks.

> I think that in an FSF mailing list it is very important to consider
> how probable it is that a license will be accepted. 

Yes, how probable you think it is AGPL will be accepted and used?

> > Now a good question (imo of course) is this: what would FSF think of a
> > GPLv3 license where the author indicates that the AGPL clause is
> > evicted? Would that license be still compatible with normal GPLv3
> > software? Would that make it more acceptable to you?
> >   
> I think I'll pick this up in your answer to "pleasant solution", and
> thanks for being pleasant.

I feel like you in many respects except I don't think the main purpose
of the FSF is to subvert the Free Software core values, but to protect
them against new threats and preserve them in new environments :-)


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