[lug] Google Chrome Linux "distribution"

Davide Del Vento davide.del.vento at gmail.com
Thu Jul 9 12:31:29 MDT 2009

I'm not sure I'm understanding correctly what you wrote. But if I did,
I think you misunderstood the Affero license.

IANAL, either, so I'll speak in plain English instead of legalese.

The Affero license is like the "plain" GPL, with the only difference
that is considered "distribution" (the new legalese word is convey,
but I like distribution better) ALSO "remote execution".

So, for example, if I give you my GPL executable and you run it on
your machine, that's distribution, and according to both GPL and
Affero I must give you the source code. I suspect we agree here.

On the other hand, if I don't give you my executable, but leave it
running on my machine(s), and give you an account, so that you can
login there and "remotely use" my program, that's NOT distribution
according to GPL, but it is according to Affero.

Take for example gmail. If gmail uses some GPL code (I doubt it, but
let's assume it for sake of the discussion), they don't have any
obligation to respect. If gmail uses some Affero code (I'm sure they
don't, but still let's assume it for sake of the discussion), then
they have the obligation to provide the source code to everybody who
has an account, and (s)he can do whatever (s)he with it, provided that
(s)he respect the Affero license.

In other words, Affero licence does not speak about "content produced
by a program" like GPL doesn't. Your emails can be "secret" both in a
hypothetical Affero-licensed webmail, and in a hypothetical GPL'ed
It is all about "remote execution" of the program. Note also that
"account" does not necessarily mean "shell account", but "whatever
way" in which you are able to run the remote program.

Again, IANAL, and I might be wrong, but that's my understanding and I
feel pretty sure about it.

See you tonight,

On Thu, Jul 9, 2009 at 11:02, Zan Lynx<zlynx at acm.org> wrote:
> Davide Del Vento wrote:
>> As a strong open source advocate, I think that we should use more and
>> more the Affero license, instead of GPL, see for example this:
>> http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#UnreleasedMods
> Speaking about the Affero and the GPLv3 with the similar optional
> limitation...
> IANAL, etc.
> I am not convinced that it is enforcable in the same way the GPLv2 is.
> It imposes end-user restrictions, not distribution restrictions, so,
> unless the end-user agrees to abide by the license, he is not obligated
> to follow it in any way.
> Copyright means that the distributer who creates the copy must follow a
> license. The end user who receives that copy is under no obligations for
> anything unless there is a contract or at least a EULA click-through.
> Content produced by a program (such as a web application) is not covered
> by copyright as a derivative work of the program merely by being
> produced by the program.  So a user of a web application is not
> automatically a distributor.
> The Affero license seems to rely on modification of the program being
> enough to trigger copyright. But I don't think so. Undistributed
> modifications of a work are a fair-use right. At least, I am pretty
> sure. Claiming that modifications are a copyright violation triggers
> ridiculous restrictions on the ability of people to scrapbook magazine
> articles, scribble in their books, spray paint mustaches over the art
> they've bought, etc.
> Unless lawyers can claim running a web application is a public
> performance of a copyrighted work. Maybe. I've never heard of that
> applied to software. The Affero license doesn't mention that, in any case.
> --
> Zan Lynx
> zlynx at acm.org
> "Knowledge is Power.  Power Corrupts.  Study Hard.  Be Evil."
> _______________________________________________
> Web Page:  http://lug.boulder.co.us
> Mailing List: http://lists.lug.boulder.co.us/mailman/listinfo/lug
> Join us on IRC: lug.boulder.co.us port=6667 channel=#hackingsociety

More information about the LUG mailing list