Issues Still on the
Table"> Stallman said they had tried to make sure that none of the added license requirements caused future legal issues or trouble for those with programs already running under GPL 2 and for GPL 3.0. "We have done our best, but if you see anything in a requirement added that could be problematic for things licensed under GPL 2 or later, please tell us about this, as we really need to fix them," he said.But, Stallman said, "That does not mean that we are in favor of, or against, copyright law. We are not defending the global copyright system imposed on the world. We use it simply because it is there and we are trying to do some good with it wherever we can." Another issue the community now needs to face head-on is how to prevent people from being deliberately endangered by risks that others with patents do not face, Moglen said. "In short, we need to face the issue of cross-licensing. The basic principle is that parties should act with recognition of the dangers that patents impose and demand that they act to constrain the harm that patents are doing to that community at large," he said. Doug Levin, the president and CEO of IP (intellectual property) tracker Black Duck Software Inc., said he welcomed the move to address DRM, licensing and patent issues. "The new draft addresses DRM in the context of complex legal, computing, cultural, business and societal problems," he said. Other issues addressed by the GPL 3.0 draft include IP licensing and patents, as well as the differences in copyright law between English-speaking countries, Western Europe and Asia. "These will have lawyers making a variety of nuanced arguments," Levin said. But he noted that GPL 3.0 would require greater software compliance management because of the rigorous distinction being drawn between source and object code, "as well as the need to document exceptions to GPL 3.0, which the license permits." Karen Copenhaver, the general counsel for Black Duck Software, said a primary issue to be vetted by the community during the GPL3 review process was whether the right to share and improve software licensed under the GPL extended to end users. "In other words, is a user of a Web-based application that is based on modified GPL-licensed code entitled to request and receive the source code for the application? This could be one of the great debates during this process," she said. In the conclusion of his 75-minute address, Moglen said that while some would argue that the license should be shorterand he and Stallman shared that viewthere was a year to try and fix that. "But the protection of freedom and free software is not an easy task or process. However, I am glad that this is all now your problem and no longer ours," he joked. Stallman also apologized for the difficulties involved in holding this event in the United States, and the difficulty involved for many in getting here. "We looked at the possibility of holding the event elsewhere, or holding parallel events, but this was not possible. So all we can do is apologize," he said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.
The GPL is also not a contract and people are not required to accept the license in order to receive a copy of the program, Moglen said.