[License-discuss] For Public Comment: The Libre Source License

Lawrence Rosen lrosen at rosenlaw.com
Thu Aug 22 03:25:31 UTC 2019

Russell, what you said is not true in the United States. I dare not speak to Canadian law. 


Russell wrote:

* What is the purpose of the copying or modification of the work.  If the modifying is for making software compatible with other software, that is already an enumerated exception in Canada and does not require permission from the copyright holder.  


In the US, the purpose of making software compatible is not allowed without a license. Ask Google and Oracle or the US Supreme Court to verify that. It requires permission from the copyright holder. But see the exception in 17 USC 117 below. 


If the copying is for backup purposes, that also doesn't need permission (and so-on with the various enumerated exceptions that already exist that would apply).


In the US, this is only true for the holder of a licensed copy. You can't backup a stolen or "found" copy without a license.


* Where was it obtained from?  "Somehow" is of course vague whether the source was infringing, which is a different scenario than a non-infringing source.


Yes, I was vague. Please refer to 17 USC 117 <https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/117> , which requires that the "continued possession" of the  software be "rightful" and if the copy is made "by virtue of the activation of a machine that lawfully contains an authorized copy of the computer program" and for "purposes only of maintenance or repair of that machine." It only applies to make the program work "in accordance with its original specifications authorized for that machine." 


I don't make the law, nor does OSI or FSF. We merely obey it.


I appreciate your discussion of preferred policies, but that has nothing to do with license-discuss at .


Russell suggested:

a) Work to amend the law in their jurisdiction such that private uses are a limitation or exception to copyright

b) Avoid using proprietary software licensed to regulate private uses

c) Advocate for the OSI and FSF to reject licenses which regulate private uses to avoid confusion with those which do not.

d) if (c) fails, work with others to create a fork of the FSF or OSI for those of us who want to work with organizations that don't cross that "bridge too far" into allegedly protecting software freedom through regulating private uses.


Write a law review article somewhere and propose what you desire. Or create a fork of FSF or OSI for your purposes. But please don't change our law or our licenses without permission.




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