On Wed, Aug 15, 2012 at 8:38 PM, Richard Fontana
>>> the mostly-ignored 'proxy' provision in the corresponding sections of
>> Which I really liked, actually, but were unworkable for compatibility
>> reasons - if LO designates the LO Foundation as "proxy" for
>> MPL2-licensed code, and Mozilla designates MoFo, what happens to mixed
> It could still be used under MPL2, right?
Right, but if/when there is an MPL 3, we posit that there is a good
reason for it, and that upgrading is desirable. So deliberately
creating a situation where large chunks of code might be ambiguously
upgradeable is not ideal.
There is also the question of whether or not MPL2 + [only Mozilla can
upgrade] is "this License" for purposes of a file licensed under MPL2
+ [only LO can upgrade]. Are you in compliance if you copy from a file
under the first license into a file under the second license? I've
never seen that answered about the GPL's proxy clause, and we couldn't
come up with a good answer to it either.
> But in the (A|L)GPLv3 world the proxy option has been almost entirely
I think that's primarily because (other than FSF) large non-profits
using GPL v2 fall into two camps: (1) trust FSF implicitly or (2) have
other, non-proxy, problems with upgrading to GPL v3. For example, I'm
pretty sure GNOME would want to use the proxy clause if GNOME switched
to v3 - but they're unlikely to switch to v3 because of fragmented
So I think lack of adoption is not a problem with the proxy clause per
se, just that the organizations that could/would take advantage of it
have other problems with v3. We certainly had at least one large org
begging us to add it to MPL 2, but like I said, we could not figure
out the specific mechanics of it.
I replaced the anti-anti-circumvention provision with a FIXME for the
What's a *real-world* scenario in which the waiver feature of the
earlier provision would do any good? Assume this license is likely to
be used primarily for software.
Mike Linksvayer asked me if I was aware of Ted Ts'o's Temporary
Proprietary License. I was not consciously aware of it when I
developed the Transitive Grace Period Public Licence. I exchanged
email with Ted about it later.
One particular detail of my TGPPL that I value and that I'm not sure
the TPL provides is that if you take advantage of the permission to
keep a derived work temporarily proprietary, then this obligates you
to offer the same permission to people who make worked derived from
your derived work.
Make sense? So when I publish source code under the TGPPL, I'm not
offering people the option of making a derived work, keeping it
proprietary for a limited time, and then releasing it under a strict
copyleft which disallows others from making time-limited proprietary
derived works of it. On the other hand, I *am* offering people the
option of making a derived work, making it Free/Open immediately, and
disallowing others from making a proprietary derived work from it,
even for a limited time.
The latter option is currently the case for Tahoe-LAFS and the other
software that I release in this way because I offer the recipient the
choice of GPL or TGPPL. So if you want to make a derived work of
Tahoe-LAFS without allowing anyone "downstream" of you to make a
proprietary derivation of your work, even for a limited time, then you
can do so by releasing your derived work solely under GPL.
I'm interested in developing a "TGPPLv2" which is expressed as an
"Additional Permission" to GPL. That would have exactly the same
consequences as the current TGPPLv1, sketched above, but it would
probably be better in a lot of ways to have it expressed as an
"Additional Permission" to GPLv3+.
Mike posted some criticism of the very idea of TGPPL which I'd like to
> It may be possible to demonstrate theoretically that an in-between tweak is necessarily superior to both, but not with any precision, and I'm dubious even of this.
I agree that reliable evidence about this is difficult to come by.
Nonetheless, I believe I should act based on my current understanding
rather than hesitate while looking for better data.
I personally have pretty high confidence that copyright maximalism,
including "Limited Time → ∞", will yield a worse social outcome than
some alternatives. More controversially in some circles (presumably
including this one), but less controversially among mainstream
economists, I have pretty high confidence that pure copyleft, in which
"Limited Time = 0", will yield a worse social outcome than some
My reason for believing that latter assertion is that I think the
production and usage of Free/Open software on earth has grown only
modestly over the last couple of decades, while production and usage
of all software has exploded immeasurably. Software has changed
everything for billions of humans, it appears likely to do so even
more rapidly in the coming decades, and Free/Open software is less and
less important to that. Free/Open software is a tiny and rapidly
shrinking sliver of all software, as measured by human values -- how
much time people spend with it, how much of their money, their
memories, their rights and freedoms they entrust to it, etc.
A typical situation is that the lower-layer and more commoditized
parts of the software stack are more likely to be Free/Open, e.g.
operating systems and web browsers, and the higher-layer and newer
parts are more likely to be proprietary and to otherwise deny freedom
to their users, e.g. Facebook and more or less the entirety of the
Web. It is those newer and higher-layer services that are most
valuable to users and most dangerous to their freedoms. For the vast
majority users it would make little difference to them if you switched
their Windows for Linux or their MSIE for Firefox, but it would be
unthinkable for them to leave Facebook, or migrate off of Oracle, or
stop subscribing to the software vendors and web sites that they rely
So, I personally believe Free/Open software is a social good that is
massively, drastically under-produced, just as simple economic theory
would predict. I think -- or rather I hope -- that a better social
outcome is possible somewhere in the middle, between the two extremes
of 0 and ∞. TGPPL is my stab at it. We can't do much worse than we are
already doing. ☹
I recognize that this may be surprising or unpleasant to this
audience. I mean no offense. You are the big fish in a pond. I'm
asserting that beyond this pond, the world of bigger ponds is growing
at an incredible rate. I very much value and respect your
contributions, including those of Red Hat, which can be measured in
> The nearest practice I know of was Aladdin's,
I don't think it is a valid comparison. Aladdin never offered to
anyone the option that they could make a proprietary derived work for
a limited time. So it provides no evidence on whether anyone would
have been interested in that option.
Now Tahoe-LAFS *has* offered people that option, and so far, to my
knowledge, nobody has taken us up on it. This probably just shows how
there is little commercial interest in Tahoe-LAFS, but it could also
be taken as evidence that the TGPPL is not itself a big draw for
By the way, commercial interest in Tahoe-LAFS is growing -- there are
now three companies offering commercial services based on it including
my own startup, and I'm aware of a few other expressions of commercial
Thank you for your attention. Please accept my bold, normative
statements in the spirit of constructive criticism that I intend.
Founder, CEO, and Customer Support Rep -- Least Authority Enterprises
On Wed, Aug 8, 2012 at 12:07 PM, Richard Fontana
> It says "this clause b)" in the latest version in the gitorious
> repository. In case the idea isn't clear, it's quite simple: if you
> (or rather 'We' - in fact it has to be the 'original We' to be done
> legitimately) do what Bradley calls "proprietary relicensing", that's
> fine, but then copyleft-next turns into a non-copyleft license, thus
> permitting all licensees to do their own proprietary relicensing if
> they so wish.
> I have a revised version I haven't pushed that I think makes this a
> bit clearer. As a separate paragraph:
> The preceding condition shall not apply to Your Derived Work if
> We Proprietary-Relicense. "Proprietary-Relicense" means to
> commercially offer a work that would be a Covered Work had You
> prepared it, under a license that fails to satisfy version
> 1.111 of the Free Software Definition as published by the Free
> Software Foundation ("FSF").
Could you give a bit more background on this clause, Richard? I had
flagged it as "ask Richard what the purpose of this clause is"
(because I didn't understand it) but hadn't had an opportunity to ask.
On Sun, Aug 5, 2012 at 7:30 AM, Bradley M. Kuhn <bkuhn(a)ebb.org> wrote:
> who do you advocate on behalf of on this point?
For the record: I'm not formally advocating on anyone's behalf here; I
have never had a client indicate any awareness, must less interest, in
copyleft.next, nor do I anticipate that happening.
My primary personal interest is in helping the clarity of the
drafting; i.e., seeing what a clearly-drafted strong copyleft might
look like, and doing what I can to contribute to that.
To the extent my practical experience (both before and during my time
at Greenberg) suggests other changes, I will suggest those (e.g., my
suggested removal of 7(b), which is a pro-distributor anachronism:
but I expect those will not be very common.
On Wed, Aug 1, 2012 at 9:44 PM, Richard Fontana <fontana(a)sharpeleven.org> wrote:
> 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.
Which means that it has worked. Nobody has been silly enough to
attempt to implement a DRM system with GPLv3 code because they knew
the magical tech+legal combination that makes DRM so effective would
be undermined by this clause. In fact, this made them change their
minds about DRM entirely, so they didn't buy or implement proprietary
DRM either. Ok, probably not. No anecdote about anyone's decisions
being influenced as such, nor any use of the provision as defense, are
good reasons for losing the text.
Perhaps irrelevant given the above, but I don't understand the following:
> 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.
How could it approach a field of use restriction? If completely
effective, nobody could be persecuted for circumventing a system
implemented with GPLv3 code. But it does not prevent anyone from
implementing any system they can imagine. I thought
https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#DRMProhibited expressed this
very nicely. Is that answer wrong?
> 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 did not realize this. I had naively thought the first (now deleted)
provision concerned DRM implemented with the GPLv3 licensed code
(maybe thus my confusion/question above) while the second protected
users of GPLv3 licensed works from systems with those works restricted
by external DRM -- the distributor would be out of compliance they did
not permit circumvention of the external system.
Re-reading the EU and US texts cited in
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-circumvention I take a guess that
the first provision intended to address the EU, and second the US?
How wrong am 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.
The diff is at https://gitorious.org/copyleft-next/copyleft-next/commit/f9922efd0af3e203...
There aren't any textual changes to the second part. I assume the one
provision is forthcoming.
Would it be possible for somebody to please make a concise yet succinct
restatement of where the development of copyleft-next stands as if the
reader of the statement is approaching the subject matter of this
project for the first time, what our currently understood endpoint goal
resembles at this time, and what the top five issues we're currently
discussing are? This might be useful especially at the start of each
month as the project continues.
Stephen Michael Kellat
On Thu, Aug 2, 2012 at 2:49 PM, Bradley M. Kuhn <bkuhn(a)ebb.org> wrote:
>  BTW, I think I'm going to make a merge request to just call this
> darned thing Harvey Birdman again. this "ex-Harvey Birdman" or my
> preferred "The rule formerly known as Harvey Birdman Rule" is just
What episode do I have to re-watch for this to make any sense? Because
I've watched them all (nearly went to the office as Harvey for
Halloween when I worked for Harvey two years ago) and I feel like I'm
It seems to me that private communication is inevitable in a project.
Here's a patch that I propose to add a rule to CONTRIBUTING to handle
Not sure what the preferred protocol for patch submission/pull requests
is in this project yet, so I just did everything that was possible.
A Gitorious Merge request:
You can pull the change via:
git pull firstname.lastname@example.org:~bkuhn/copyleft-next/bkuhn-copyleft-next-proposals.git bkuhn/public-forum-pub-of-private-conversations
And, for good measure, the patch is attached:
Fontana, for future reference, which of this do you actually prefer?