Subject: Re: GPL v3 article - is this the public performance idea?
From: "Karsten M. Self" <>
Date: Sat, 9 Apr 2005 20:31:59 -0700
Sat, 9 Apr 2005 20:31:59 -0700
on Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 05:42:22PM -0700, Ben Tilly ( wrote:
> Mike Olson of Sleepycat is quoted in:
> There is a nice little flamewar on /. about the result.  Everyone and his dog
> thinks that the change in terms is impossible, nobody would go for it.
> Personally I'm wondering whether this is the idea that Bruce Perens
> mentioned to me several years ago, that hosting a website is a public
> performance, copyright law gives copyright owners the right to control
> public performances, and the GPL v2 does not grant the right to
> publically perform works.  

The GPL doesn't speak to this at all.  Section 0:

    Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are not
    covered by this License; they are outside its scope.  The act of
    running the Program is not restricted, and the output from the
    Program is covered only if its contents constitute a work based on
    the Program (independent of having been made by running the
    Program).  Whether that is true depends on what the Program does.

My read is that anything not restricted by the GPL is allowed.  That's
consistent with RMS and Eben Moglen's statements WRT v2 and v3

It's also useful to note that v3 has been "under development" for
 years , going back to the late 1990s at least.

> Therefore if the GPL v3 did grant this right, it could use it to push
> Amazon etc to share source code just like the GPL currently pushes
> proprietary software vendors to do so.


Yes.  And that's pretty much the issue at hand.

The GPL does allow authors to make exceptions to limitations imposed by
the GPL.  The Linux kernel license is an example of this:  Linus
specifically allows binary linking with the kernel and its modules
(though he tempers this from a development/support perspective by making
clear that such linking isn't guaranteed to work across versions, major
or minor, and isn't something kernel developers will support).

Similarly, it's possible that we'll see code under GPL v3 which relaxes
the performance disclosure obligations.

> If it is not that, then what is it?
> The idea of allowing companies to opt out of sharing code for a fee is
> new to me, I'm kind of curious how that would work.

Send me $1000 and we'll talk.


Karsten M. Self <>
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
    Jeff Waugh:  Can't see the trees for the trees...

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