Sunday, January 22, 2006

fyi Open-Source License Debate Kicks Off


Pointer to article:

Kobielus kommentary:
Ah yes…epic battle…open source vs. digital rights management (DRM).

And classic language, from the GPLv3 draft (note the rascally redefinition of the acronym): “"Some countries have adopted laws prohibiting software that enables users to escape from Digital Restrictions Management," the draft reads. "DRM is fundamentally incompatible with the purpose of the GPL, which is to protect users' freedom; therefore, the GPL ensures that the software it covers will neither be subject to, nor subject other works to, digital restrictions from which escape is forbidden."

In other words, no software licensed under GPLv3 (as currently drafted) may be used in products that implement DRM. Put in economic terms, a growing universe of for-free code is offlimits to those who might wish to use it to chain, contain, restrain, and meter for-pay content. So those who dream DRM will have to scrounge or gin up their own non-GPLv3 code in order to build their content constrainers.

Which, of course, they’ll easily do. Content owners (of which I'm one, though most of what I own copyright to is now utterly worthless) will spend whatever they need to spend to fortify their lockboxes. But, with the DRM-buster in GPLv3, they won't be able to do so as cost-effectively as if they had access to the full open-source universe to do so.

Call GPLv3 a symbolic stand against overzealous DRM. It may not derail the DRM overkill juggernaut. But it serves notice that those who would free software would also free the information that often gets imprisoned therein.