[cc-licenses] The GPLv2, GPLv3 and disallowing DRM

mezzanine at Safe-mail.net mezzanine at Safe-mail.net
Fri Feb 22 01:29:09 EST 2013


Though there may or may not be much more to say about allowing DRM in
the case of the CC 4.0 licenses, the following may be of interest. In
the case of the GPLv3, the parts that are likely to come to mind on
DRM are section 3 ("Protecting Users' Legal Rights From Anti-
Circumvention Law.") which specifies that GPLv3-licensed works shall
not be "deemed part of an effective technological measure" and
specifies that licensees can circumvent DRM on a GPLv3-licensed work
if needed to exercise rights allowed under the GPLv3, and also section
6 ("Conveying Non-Source Forms.") which requires for consumer devices
that incorporate GPLv3-licensed works that users be able to install
and run modified versions of the GPLv3-licensed works.

At the same time, it appears that the GPLv3 (and also GPLv2) disallow
the applying of certain DRM to covered works. In the GPLv3, section 10
("Automatic Licensing of Downstream Recipients.") specifies that among
other things "You may not impose any further restrictions on the
exercise of the rights granted or affirmed under this License." In the
GPLv2, section 6 specifies that "You may not impose any further
restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted
herein." among other things. This section in GPLv2 has been
interpreted to mean (from what one can tell) that GPLv2-licensed works
cannot be distributed in a manner that causes a recipient to receive a
DRM-restricted copy of the GPL-licensed binary (such as an encrypted
binary that can only be run on approved devices) even if source code
is available separately. (In the case of certain distribution
channels, there may be contractual restrictions that are incompatible
with GPLv2/GPLv3, in addition to any technical DRM.)

The following may be of interest:
https://www.fsf.org/blogs/licensing/more-about-the-app-store-gpl-enforcement
http://trac.adium.im/ticket/14914
https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#DRMProhibited

--Richard


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