Should the first release of copyleft-next be designated with the
version number 1.0, 0.1, 0.01, something else?
I'm somewhat inclined to go with "0.01" (which still is suggestive of
'likely to see further improvement'). Incidentally, I am increasingly
of the view that the version stability of (at least interesting) FLOSS
(and free or quasi-free content) licenses is a flaw, and I am
envisioning copyleft-next as a license that could rapidly evolve even
when one only considers a series of official numbered releases.
Most FLOSS licenses with numbered releases (and names) have begun with
"1.0" (famous exceptions are the GNU LGPL and the GNU AGPL).
Apparently there was an 0.5 release of the Common Public License that
was applied to some software, so there is some limited precedent for
having pre-1.0 numbered releases.
Here's an update of what's been going on with the copyleft-next draft.
Deletion of dl-supp
The biggest change of the past week was my deletion of "dl-supp". In
an earlier commit, I moved the "anti-Tivoization" provisions derived
from the second part of GPLv3 section 6 into a supplementary document
which an initial licensor could place on a new program. I now see no
point in even having it as a supplement.
Thus, copyleft-next has no anti-Tivoization provisions, and so the
patch originally proposed by mcgrof (see
<https://lkml.org/lkml/2012/7/12/401> ) has now effectively been applied.
A lot of careful thought and discussion went into the corresponding
provisions of GPLv3. They represent the result of a difficult
compromise, and are motivated by policy goals for which I have deep
personal sympathy. I contend that they are among the best-drafted
parts of that license. The policy concern about locked-down consumer
devices with effectively nonmodifiable GPL-licensed software has
become more relevant in the years since those provisions were drafted.
Yet, with respect to GPLv3, it has been my own intuition that few
projects consciously choosing that license do so because of the
anti-Tivoization provisions. I do not have the sense that the
inclusion of these provisions in GPLv3 has had the effect of
increasing users' freedom to modify software in consumer devices they
own. To the contrary, it appears if anything to have motivated
risk-averse companies to avoid use of GPLv3-licensed software. That is
not dispositive but it is relevant. (There may be evidence to the
contrary that I am unaware of.)
I'm open to being convinced that this deletion should be reverted, but
if no one successfully convinces me, it is likely to stay deleted.
Part of what influences me is the availability of outbound (A)GPLv3
compatibility. As with the more obscure 'contractor' provision of
GPLv3 section 2, those who care strongly about these provisions will
be able to incorporate copyleft-next code in GPLv3-licensed works.
Deletion of first part of anti-anti-circumvention provision
While I currently continue to feel it is worthwhile for copyleft-next
to explicitly address anti-circumvention law, I no longer consider the
first paragraph of what was GPLv3 section 3 to be desirable.
The basic idea here was the hope that courts would be influenced by a
general declaration by the licensor that covered works are, in some
sense fundamental to the license, not 'effective technological
protection measures'. There is no known history of use of this
provision by those defending against invocation of anti-circumvention law.
This strikes me as being an inherently weak provision, but, the less
weak one assumes it is, the more problematic it becomes from a free
software perspective, since it approaches something like a field of
use restriction. That certainly is not what the FSF intended, but that
lack of intent does not make the discomfort go away.
The reason for effectively two (or three, depending on how you look at
it) anti-anti-circumvention provisions had to do with concerns about
differences between US and EU approaches to anti-circumvention law. I
consider it better to come up with one provision suitable for major
jurisdictions in which the license is likely to be granted. A
modification of the second part of what was GPLv3 section 3 is a
better basis for such a provision.
Further changes to termination
In response to discussion on the mailing list, I have changed the
EPL-inspired "reasonable time period" cure to a 30-day cure.
I have also eliminated the relatively complex "automatic termination
-> provisional automatic reinstatement -> permanent automatic
reinstatement' feature which was originally added to GPLv3 section 8
in the final draft. I have explained this in a posting to this list
made earlier today.
Deletion of liberty-or-death example
This is a noteworthy change. If people think that we need the example
given in GPLv3 section 12, let me know.
Would anyone besides Bradley object (weakly or strongly) to my using
GitHub as the apparent one true public source code repository for
copyleft-next? (I have been mirroring [that's probably not even the
correct concept here] commits to the Gitorious repository in my GitHub
copyleft-next repository ever since using Gitorious for
copyleft-next.) Having used Gitorious for several months now, I have
to say that I don't like it.
I note that Bradley has already proposed some changes to copyleft-next
by attaching patches to mailing list posts in addition to Gitorious
merge requests. This seems to prove that someone who strongly objects
to GitHub can still actively participate in this project, at least if
I reverse my current practice and consistently mirror the GitHub
repository in the existing Gitorious repository (or some other public
git repository location that Bradley would not object to).
Attention conservation notice: minor drafting quibbling follows.
Secs. 11.4 and 15 should probably be redrafted to remove shall.
Shall should only be used under very specific circumstances- basically
as a synonym for "has a duty to."
There is a very extensive discussion of this on p. 22-30 of Ken Adams'
Manual of Style for Contract Drafting
a summary at http://www.koncision.com/revisiting-use-of-shall-in-contract-drafting/
The following summarizes the position [from
"I recommend using [shall] to impose an obligation on the subject of
the sentence, as in 'Acme shall purchase the Shares'. The initial test
for disciplined use of shall is whether you can in your mind replace
it with “has [or have] a duty to.” This simple test goes a long way
towards restraining overuse of shall."
Secs. 11.4 and 15 fail this test, and so probably shouldn't use
"shall" as currently drafted:
"Your right to make copies necessarily incident to running Covered
Works [have a duty to] never be terminated."
Because I'm unclear on the purpose of 10.4 (see thread from some weeks
ago), I can't offer advice on how to improve it.
"If any provision of this License is invalid or unenforceable under
applicable law, it [has a duty to] not affect the validity or
enforceability of the remainder of this License..."
shall -> will ("it will not affect...")
"and reviewing courts [have a duty to] reform such provision to the
minimum extent necessary to make such provision valid and
This is not grammatically incorrect, but it's a little odd, since the
courts have no duty here to do anything. :) Could use instead: "and We
intend that reviewing courts should reform..." or simply "reviewing
courts should reform".
For slightly more discussion of exactly this sort of clause, see:
Two more cents-
This is to follow-up what I hinted at on Identica.
As to releasing copyleft-next, this is a very good week to bury news of
any sort. I would suggest and propose that any initial release be done
at a press availability so that members of the tech press, such that
they are, can be physically present to ask questions. We already saw
coverage that was less than optimal at the start of this effort that I
intervened to try to get corrected over at The Register. Having a press
availability, this is part of the normal mechanics of doing things.
I would suggest holding an event in New York City in a few weeks or so
and inviting folks from CNET, The Register, Ars Technica, and such other
outlets as may be determined appropriate to come. The location should
be neutral ground. Bureaus for most of the mentioned outlets are either
in Boston or NYC and with northeast regional transit infrastructure
being superior in some respects to that found elsewhere in the United
States this would not be as great of an imposition as, for example,
asking them to attend an event here in northeast Ohio's Ashtabula County.
To do this, a few things would need to be nailed down:
1. A date
2. A time
3. A place
4. Who shall be available to the press
To members of the media, commit logs and e-mail archives sometimes are
not enough to be able to understand a subject to be able to write a
story. Sometimes questions have to be asked and answered. To help gain
knowledge throughout the community at large, the media plays an
important role in the existence of something like copyleft-next.
I'll tentatively commit to baking some cookies and bringing them across
two state lines perhaps for such an invited press availability if
somebody else can bring coffee. :-)
As for numbering, I'd follow Gentoo/Ubuntu mechanics and go with
something akin to 2012.12 perhaps.
Stephen Michael Kellat
Press Flack for the Music Along the River Festival near Ohio's Grand River
Head Writer, Erie Looking Productions
Ashtabula Township, OH
It came up at one point in the (essentially defunct) IRC channel with
no real resolution, so I want to bring this up again before a release
Do we want to set a standard line length for the license text and edit
the current draft to meet that length? It will make for a stupidly
ugly diff, but it might make the final product look more polished.