Subject: Re: [openip] Re: GNU License for Hardware
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <turnbull@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp>
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1999 13:32:34 +0900 (JST)

>>>>> "William" == William C Cheng <william@cs.umd.edu> writes:

    William> Exactly!  Program are set to freedom.  They are not born
    William> with freedom.

    William> Stephen J. Turnbull <turnbull@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp> wrote:

    >> Derivatives of GPLed programs are, no matter how small the
    >> genetic contribution.

    William> Not true!  The author of the liberated modifications has
    William> to put his/her code under GPL to create derivative work.

Though true, I consider it insignificant, and at variance to all the
arguments that derivative works "inherit" the GPL.

I'm happy with your distinction, personally, but there are a lot of
unhappy BSD developers out there (and Mr. Metzger, for those following
that thread) who will claim that this is a restriction on their
freedom.  I agree, but see no point in complaining, since I tend to
accept[1] intellectual property---I don't see the GPL as "cracking"
copyright, as many do, but rather as a wonderful "hack" extending the
use of copyright to protecting authors' desires to use their works to
improve the world around them.

But I think that your argument belittles that claim, and obfuscates
RMS's explicit intention in incorporating clause 6 in the GPL.  I
think that is unfortunate, because I don't think that people who use
non-copyleft and even non-free licenses are necessarily hurting the
cause.  There may be many roads to freedom.  And it's certainly not a
good way to convince people to move toward true freedom for their own
works, rather than away from it.


Footnotes:
[1]  Not necessarily as currently defined in law.  For example, I
believe in the right of authors to demand correct attribution of their
works as a bare minimum.  I don't know whether any other specific
provisions of copyright or patent law are ethically justifiable without
reference to "the good of society," since eliminating an intellectual
property right does not harm any person's ability to directly use that
intellectual asset, just their ability to make money by licensing it
to others.  I'm of two minds on that distinction....


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