For Approval: GPLv3

Chris Travers chris at
Fri Aug 17 04:00:10 UTC 2007

How many ways to say "I was wrong and I appologize?"

Richard Fontana wrote:
> Donovan Hawkins wrote:
>> GPL v3 requires that the manufacturer of the voting machine inform the
>> buyer (ie the government who is holding the election) how to unlock the
>> voting machine and replace the software. If there is a password needed
>> to access it, they have to tell them what the factory default password
>> is set to. But there is nothing that prevents the government from
>> changing that password and keeping the new password a secret from the
>> voters who use the machine. I don't think that allowing you to vote
>> using the government's machine qualifies as conveying the software to
>> the voter, so the voter has no rights under the GPL.
> As to voting machines, one need not even reach this issue under GPLv3.
Furthermore, even if one does, nothing prevents a state from conveying 
such software to counties and then issuing further restrictions as a 
condition for accepting the votes as valid.  Agreements relating to the 
data are separate from agreements relating to the software.

I think we can all agree (including myself) that the voting machine 
issue is moot.  It had been raised to me by another developer and I 
posted it before I thought it through entirely.

I would hope that people don't read this license quite in the way 
requiring additional rights be granted consumers as opposed to corporate 
users.  That would seem to be discriminating against a class of persons 
(though not a class of natural persons) and would be possible an OSD 
conflict depending on how one reads the OSD (but it is still unfair to 
corporate entities in that they are granted fewer rights than natural 
> The anti-lockdown requirements of section 6 apply to "User Products"
> only, which are largely limited to "consumer products" (which uses the
> Magnuson-Moss Act definition: any tangible personal property normally
> used for personal, family or household purposes).  Voting machines, as
> they exist today, are certainly not consumer products. Moreover, the
> anti-lockdown requirements do not apply to such ephemeral forms of
> propagation as granting someone brief access to use a voting machine to
> vote (even if this *would* be "conveying"; under U.S. law, at least, we
> are confident that it isn't).
As I say, no reading of the GPL no matter how extensive forbids further 
restrictions from someone as part of an ongoing agreement relating to 
services.  Since voting is a service performed by the county, using the 
machines in voting could be subject to agreements outside the scope of 
mere copyright.

In short, if I offer to accept ODF documents from you on condition that 
you do not alter my GPL v3 word processor, that is accepted under the 
GPL v3.  I just can't push that into the terms of a copyright license.  
In short other restrictions may apply provided that they are not part of 
the general permission to use the software outside of other service 
agreements.  I didn't think of this and I was wrong.  Clear enough? :-)

Best Wishes,
Chris Travers
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