[PD-dev] License implications of GPL3

Chris McCormick chris at mccormick.cx
Tue Nov 28 04:54:59 CET 2006

On Tue, Nov 28, 2006 at 03:53:15PM +0000, padawan12 wrote:
> Wow, there's a huge can-o-worms. I'm not going to touch the tin opener
> other than to say it seems bad, but I don't really understand.

I don't know that it is neccesarily bad. Previously if someone did that
(added extra clauses about use to an otherwise GPL2'ed piece of software)
it just didn't make sense in any way. It was in legal limbo. But now
they're explicitly saying that if someone has legal-limboed a piece of
software you can rescue it by cutting the limbo cruft out of the
license. They have also provided us with a mechanism for adding additional
freedoms to licenses, as long as you don't take any away. So I think for
instance you're allowed to say "this is licensed GPL v3 and you can also
use it when you are naked."

> I think that you have to either share and shut up or not share at all. In
> other words it's improper to be adding arbitary personal whims to work you
> publish and expect the world to sing along. On the other hand I'm so
> emphatically opposed to crap like digital restrictions management that the
> CC licenses for my music are decorated with extra clauses making the license
> void if used on a DRM infected media or channel. Call me a hypocrite, you'd
> be right, I really don't know how to defend my dualistic position.

Yeah, totally. I feel your pain. It's complicated stuff. DRM is one of
the big concerns in the new GPL license and I hope that it becomes a big
concern for other types of Free license writers too.

The other alternative is to live somewhere where nobody gives a fsck about
the law anyway and just breaks it. In the current climate of corporate
copyright law it might be best to do this so someone could continue to
be free to make the software/whatever that they want without threat of
lawsuits. Luckily we don't live in the United States of Earth just yet.

It's a tradeoff though because if you do that then somebody in that
same place can just take your code and close it up and make a commercial
product or whatever, and you have no legal recourse to fight it because
the legal IP framework doesn't exist.

Hopefully the places in the world which are more open with IP law will
apply market pressure on the developed world to stay properly free, by
naturally being more conducive to innovation and thus leapfrogging us,
leaving us bogged down in the mud of legislation and law suits. Nothing
will make the big corporations want to wash off that mud like a well
aimed kick right in the profits.



chris at mccormick.cx

More information about the Pd-dev mailing list