The GPL and secrecy

Francois-Rene Rideau
Tue, 18 Jan 2000 02:31:55 +0100

> I think you have a lack of understanding of agent law, at least how it
> works here in the United States.

Remember that I'm talking both about law as it is, and law as it should be.

Yes, I know that collective licenses may be enforceable in some countries.
Hence the hole in the GPL, that doesn't explicitly preclude it. If the GPL
had a "this license is strictly personal" mention, there would be no hole.

And still, I think that the very fact that collective licenses be enforceable
in said country is an attempt to the most basic civil liberties in the same
countries. The very notion that companies have, depending on circumstances,
more or less personality, than what its owners put in them, is negation of
individual liberties, and is a source of much of the latent oppression and
alienation that individuals suffer and will suffer in these countries.

>> If I accept your interpretation of the GNU GPL, then I can take GPL'ed code,
>> and transform it into SCSL'ed code, by requiring people to enter my rackety
>> "community" so as to access the code. "All hope abandon, ye who enter here!"
> The GPL is written in such a way as to prevent that from happening.  The
> company can prevent the redistribution of their own proprietary code,
> but they can not redistribute it under a different license.
We're precisely speaking about NOT distributing outside the company, or
rather, not outside the "community". Your community is granted a copy
of the software with the license, once, and never distributes it, or
modifications to it, ever again. It only uses and copies the software
_internally_. Anyone can enter the community, and use the software,
but thereby must sign an agreement further restraining his rights.

On the other hand, if collective licensing is valid, then a well-inspired
such "community" may get a lot of software with various licenses, GPL, LGPL,
BSD, MIT, NPL, MPL, QPL, OPL, and whatelse, and allow for unlimited further
use of that software _internally_. That is, if you're a member of this
community, then you can freely mix and match any software whose restrictions
only apply when you distribute it, as if it were under the bugroff license.

> They can also not prevent the distribution of the original code
> under the GPL.
Of course they can't. Nobody said they could. But with collective licensing,
they can build on it just like they could on the BSD license, or on many
free and proprietary source-licenses.


[ François-René ÐVB Rideau | Reflection&Cybernethics | ]
[  TUNES project for a Free Reflective Computing System  |  ]
The Constitution may not be perfect, but it's a lot better than what we've got!