Re: Misunderstanding of PD and copyrights

From: Edward Cherlin <edward_dot_cherlin_at_etssg_dot_com>
Date: Mon May 17 2004 - 17:28:18 CDT

On Thursday 13 May 2004 06:11 pm, Arthur Keller wrote:
> At 5:13 PM -0700 5/13/04, Joseph Lorenzo Hall wrote:
> >The main difference here is whether or not derivative works
> > should be under the same license as the original (this is
> > GPL). If all we care about is people being able to test
> > software and we don't really care about people taking
> > released software and building closed software, BSD is a
> > good choice. However, I believe, if we want to attract many
> > coders and ensure that patches and modifications *must* be
> > distributed under the same terms as the original, GPL is the
> > way to go.
>
> That's an excellent question. Does it make sense for voting
> software for there to be many coders?

Yes. We must distinguish between the right to use the software
for research and public discussion, including field testing of
new ideas, and the right to use the software in voting systems
under the election laws of any particular jurisdiction. The
second is subject to a variety of legal requirements which may
include standards and certification procedures. The first is
open to whatever anybody wants to try. Procedures that would be
illegal in US elections may be desired in other contexts. We
ourselves need to be able to create demonstrations of broken
software, and run field tests of uncertified code.

> And do we want to
> preclude incorporation of UC written software in commercial
> products?

That would make the software non-Free.

> Are there alternative restrictions to GPL?

Many.

http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html

> Suppose
> we said that derivative works had to be published, but could
> be proprietary, would that serve our purposes?

On the face of it, that's self-contradictory. Perhaps you mean
commercial, rather than proprietary, with source code
publication? Free software, even copylefted GPL software, can
certainly be sold, but there must be access to source code and
permission to change it. Simply publishing the source code with
a "don't touch" license is plainly not enough.

> (I realize
> that *our* is an open question, since some of us are GPL
> supporters, others of us may want the software totally
> controlled by the OVC, and others merely want to get our
> system and concepts used one way or another.)

Right. Well, I'm certainly for GPL and against both total control
and total lack of control. Anyway, I don't see how we can have
complete control, and I seem to remember Alan telling people
that there can be many versions subject to both our
certification process and the government's. If we can figure out
a certification process that would really enforce our design
goals, we wouldn't need to control the code, but I am against
letting anybody base a closed proprietary software product on
our work.

> Best regards,
> Arthur

-- 
Edward Cherlin, Simputer Evangelist
Encore Technologies (S) Pte. Ltd.
No aid, no charity, and no poor
http://www.ryze.com/go/Cherlin
Copyright 2004 Edward Cherlin
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Received on Mon May 31 23:17:52 2004

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