Subject: Re: Interesting POV on free software licensing
From: "Karsten M. Self" <>
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 1999 16:14:02 -0700

Richard Stallman wrote:
>     Despite the tangle of influences, I also think that free software's
>     tools for ensuring access to its works are actually helped, rather than
>     hindered, by laws granting more and stronger powers to copyright holders
>     through both copyright and licensing law revisions.  I don't see us
>     wanting or requesting these changes, but we can certainly utilize them.
> Not necessarily.  I don't think UCITA would help us, even in minor and
> useless ways.  My understanding is that the extra powers given UCITA
> would not apply to the methods we normally use to distribute free
> software, such as a tar file on an ftp server.  (I am not entirely
> certain of this.)
> In any case, we have very strong reasons to oppose UCITA.
> 1. It would provide a basis to prohibit reverse engineering of
> proprietary software, which we *need* to be able to do.

Isn't this mitigated by the DMCA's explicit permission to
reverse-engineer software?  Or does the formerly noted distinction
between "owener" and "licensee" render this void?

If UCITA takes away what DMCA gives, then the DMCA being Federal law
preempts UCITA (state law).  However if UCITA resopes the issue outside
of copyright ownership, and DMCA doesn't address the issue vis-a-vis
licencee's rights, then we've got a real problem.

I'm going to post this issue to CNI-Copyright.  I haven't had the time
to get as up-to-date on the IP law revisions as I'd like to be.  I'm
explicitly _not_ adding them to the CC-list due to the bounces and in
light of problems to date with extensive CC:s

Karsten M. Self (
    What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?

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