I think Bradley and I are mostly violently agreeing; details below.
On Thu, Oct 11, 2012 at 3:16 PM, Bradley M. Kuhn <bkuhn(a)ebb.org> wrote:
My gut says that the "app stores are really really really a
of distribution, that's SO different from all the distribution we've
ever had in the past" might be just such a case where we've let an issue
of the day influence license drafting. Fontana, I'm curious if you
I strongly agree that issues of the day should not influence drafting,
and certainly agree there should not be special exceptions for app
That said, in most cases, I think no special exception for app stores
is necessary. There are three big issues I've seen articulated with
regards to app stores, and all are either addressed or would never be
addressed by copyleft.next:
1) Most app stores do not want to distribute source code themselves.
This is arguably prohibited by GPL v2, but copyleft.next (following
GPL 3 and MPL2) allow source to be distributed by a party other than
the party that distributed the binary; i.e., in the app store case, by
the party that uploaded the binary to the app store. So I don't think
that copyleft.next has a problem with app stores along this axis.
2) Most app store vendors do not want to license their patents that
might cover an app. copyleft.next (following GPL 3, MPL 1.1, and
Apache 2) only requires parties to license patents when they modify an
app. Since no app store that I'm aware of modifies apps (and if they
did, they should obviously grant patents to those modifications), this
particular problem is again not an issue for copyleft.next.
3) Many (most?) app stores distribute to locked-down platforms, where
user rights are restricted by means both legal and technical. This is
an important issue, and at the current time an issue that often
appears in the same places as app stores, but it is a different issue,
and should be resolved independently. Or to put it another way:
locked-down platforms can be locked down without an app store, and app
stores can deliver to non-locked-down platforms. Given this, the
license should take care, while solving the lockdown problem, not to
accidentally draft restrictions that would prohibit someone from using
an app-store-like approach to deliver code to a rights-respecting
platform. Again, I think copyleft.next handles this the right way,
divorcing the anti-lockdown text (Corresponding Source, part (ii))
from discussion of the delivery mechanism (elsewhere in Sec. 9).
I have not looked at this problem in detail in some time, so I may be
missing some aspects, but these are the three problems that comes to
mind. Certainly if there are others I'm not thinking about they should
be raised- they'd be useful both specifically to use to analyze
copyleft.next, as well as other licenses.