[cc-licenses] Subject: Re: Version 3.0 - List Discussion Responses

Rob Myers rob at robmyers.org
Sun Oct 1 14:54:38 EDT 2006

Evan Prodromou wrote:
> On Sat, 2006-30-09 at 20:59 +0100, Rob Myers wrote:
>> The second point is not a breach of the FSD, and is not a breach of Fair 
>> Use IMHO (the use is not personal and is competitive). I also believe 
>> that it is not a breach of the DFSG, but *even if it was* this would not 
>> be a primary issue for a Free Culture license rather than a Free 
>> Software one.
> So, this is probably an important line of discussion that needs to be
> kiboshed ASAP.

I'm asking why Free Culture needs Debian.

In response you try to explain why Debian needs Free Culture.

That's hardly a kibosh.

> For Debian, we are increasingly concerned with digital artifacts --
> sometimes called "software"  -- that are not computer programs, namely
> music, video, text, databases, and images. 

Certainly cultural works can be represented as "software" in the broader 
sense. But this is the lumberjack's view of the library as wood pulp, 
the shipping company's view of art as "middle-sized dry goods".

> These show up in games; in
> documentation; in Web applications; as elements of graphical user
> interfaces (GUIs); and in any number of fascinating extra ways.

Listening to music or reading a novel is not a "fascinating extra way" 
of using "digital artifacts" compared to clicking a button in a GUI.

If you want cheap buttons for your preference panes, this is a project 
management issue for the various projects upstream from Debian that 
Debian use to make their software distribution, not a matter of 
principle for Free Culture.

> To run, the Debian system run requires all of these kinds of digital
> objects. 

It does not. You can get a perfectly decent CLI environment out of Debian.

 > Therefore, it's important to us that our users and downstream
> developers are able to exercise the exact same rights to these kinds of
> digital artifacts as they can for computer programs.

If I install a CLI environment, Debian cannot stop me playing 
CC-licensed OGG files from the command line, or reading a Cory Doctorow 
novel that I have ripped to utf-8.

And if I install a GUI environment using Debian, as I have on my iBook 
since this debate started, Debian cannot stop me using CC-licensed PDFs, 
SVGs, MPEG-2's and other graphical formats.

As with your special pleading for DRM on Games Consoles, a format that 
requires DRM not for end users of culture but for developers of games 
programs, you are asking Free Culture to volunteer for the interests of 
a small group of hackers on closed platforms *against* its own interests.

And, ultimately, against the interests of Free Software.

> So: we are absolutely concerned about Free Culture items and licenses;
> we wouldn't have wasted 2 years on this process if we weren't.

You are concerned about being able to exploit Free Culture work and 
licenses in the name of Free Software. You are not concerned with Free 
Culture itself.

> Finally, and importantly: there is nothing new under the sun.  Music and
> video is not in any way different from computer programs because of the
> existence of various DRM technologies; in fact, quite the opposite. Copy
> protection schemes have been an important part of proprietary computer
> program distribution since at least the beginning of the personal
> computing era.

If we take our computer programmer hats off, copy protection is 
something very new. Audio and video tapes and dead-tree books did not 
have copy protection. Video tape has added it but this is a recent 

DVDs explicitly use DRM law to enforce their copy protection when it is 

Software has been a matter for copy protection since the 1980s, but DRM 
is a recent *legal* development. If DRM is not new, it is an excess of 
copyright law and requires tackling as such.

> Free software licenses have been almost universally silent on the issue
> of copy protection 

See GPL-3.

 > because those licenses that require derivative copies
> to be Free count on a form of parallel distribution (source
> availability), 

This is a false comparison as has been pointed out to you a couple of times.

 > and those that don't require downstream copies to be free
> don't make any such demands.

Either this is a point of ideology that Debian-Legal are refusing to be 
pragmatic about, or you are singling out CC as an example having been 
too accommodating to various large software projects in the past.

In either case this should not be privileged over Free Culture's own 

- Rob.

More information about the cc-licenses mailing list