Re: License for EVM?

From: Arthur Keller <arthur_at_kellers_dot_org>
Date: Thu Aug 14 2003 - 21:13:56 CDT

The Principal Investigator at UC has the right to put the software in
the public domain or release it with GPL.


At 9:04 PM -0400 8/14/03, David Mertz wrote:
>"Alan Dechert" <> wrote:
>|For the demo, however, I don't think it's very important. When you say
>|"EVM" I assume you're talking about the demo. i.e., since the software
>|is throwaway and has no conceivable use other than demonstration
>I think this is almost certainly wrong (as I sorta raised in private
>email). Having an attitude that is solely directed to throwing away the
>demo probably pushes any adoption MANY extra years into the future (my
>guess, at least five years).
>Work always expands to fill available money. If this project is driven
>wholly by the goal of getting grants (rather than pushing democracy),
>the eventual development will never stop as long as money can be
>generated... and hence the system will never be concretely used.
>In any case, even for a demo, without explicit terms, we don't know we
>have the right to use the code for the demo. Hypothetically, one of us
>developers could claim copyrights (and no license grant) the day before
>a scheduled demo... and either kill the demonstration, or at least put
>it into a deep legal quagmire. Who knows, maybe Diebold or ESS will
>offer me a bribe to kill the project... I should not have that power.
>|If the production software is developed under a core grant (or grants)
>|to the University of California, it's likely that the license agreement
>|(where the client is a county government) will be written by UC Lawyers.
>Sure, maybe. But if I or the elections department of my home state
>don't like those license agreements (e.g. using code that belongs to UC,
>not to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts [or to whomever]), I'd feel a
>lot better about having the demo code base freely available.
>The UC system--no less than any other organization or company--is a
>bunch of people with their own self-interest, motives, political
>intrigues, and so on. Electoral democracy is more important than any
>such narrowly institutional interests.
>In fact, that's a lot of why I like public domain better than the other
>options. Say a bunch of UC researchers get a bunch of money, and launch
>a project. Then they develop fiefdoms, personal conflicts, differing
>visions, acquire interests in proprietary competitors, and so on. I
>don't want such a (quite realistic) possibility to prevent someone else
>from having access to every single bit of work done for EVM2003. Public
>domain gives everyone the same unconditional rights to the whole thing
>(but I understand the GPL argument here also... in fact, constraining
>some future system by that means is a good thing).
>This project sure as heck shouldn't be just another commercial product,
>but one that happens to be owned by UC rather than ESS. That falls
>painfully short of the sort of transparency that is important.
>|For the production software, I don't think Public Domain will do. It will
>|be important to identify a specific entity which owns the software and
>|handles version control and maintenance issues, as well as providing a site
>|for download of the authentic product (and perhaps tools to authenticate the
>Version control and authentication are entirely different--and almost
>entirely unrelated--issues from license terms and ownership. Code that
>is public domain still needs someone to provide certification of its
>accuracy (whether that means code audits, or simply that the code
>delivered was not tampered with).
>Yours, David...
>mertz@ | The specter of free information is haunting the `Net! All the
>gnosis | powers of IP- and crypto-tyranny have entered into an unholy
>.cx | alliance...ideas have nothing to lose but their chains. Unite
> | against "intellectual property" and anti-privacy regimes!

Arthur M. Keller, Ph.D., 3881 Corina Way, Palo Alto, CA  94303-4507
tel +1(650)424-0202, fax +1(650)424-0424
= The content of this message, with the exception of any external 
= quotations under fair use, are released to the Public Domain    
Received on Sun Aug 31 23:17:09 2003

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