[linux-elitists] Anti-SSSCA strategy.

Karsten M. Self kmself@ix.netcom.com
Sun Sep 9 13:32:22 PDT 2001


on Sun, Sep 09, 2001 at 06:52:29AM -0700, Tesla Coil (tescoil@irtc.net) wrote:
> On 8 Sep 2001, Karsten M. Self wrote:
> > By some appearances, it would make free software illegal
> > in the US.
> 
> I question how much it helps writing to our obviously not too
> brilliant congressmen.  I suggest we concentrate upon formulating a
> case to take to federally sponsored agencies currently using Linux,
> e.g., NASA, NERSC, NIH, NIST, NOAA, USGS, Fermilab, Los Alamos, Oak
> Ridge and Sandia National Laboratories, to name a few.  Provided
> opponents from only a few of that list, it would be difficult for
> politicians and the media to poison the well.  "Library Radicals" may
> have a ring to it, but I don't expect "National Oceanic and
> Atmospheric Administration Radicals" flies too well.
> 
> In any event, does unauthorized distribution of Britney Spears really
> merit setting up something on the order of the Nuclear Regulatory
> Commission for digital technology?

Some well-considered points regarding strategy.

The specific portions of SSSCA involved (as drafted),  BTW, are below,
notes in brackets []:

    Sec. 101.  PROHIBITION OF CERTAIN DEVICES.

	(a) IN GENERAL -- It is unlawful to manufacture, import, offer
	to the public, provide or otherwise traffic in any interactive
	digital device that does not include and utilize certified
	security technologies that adhere to the security system
	standards adopted under section 104.

    [Note that "offer to the public" and "provider or otherwise traffic
    in" would apply to common modes of distribution of free software.
    As defined in 109, "interactive digital device" includes
    "software".]

	(b) EXCEPTION -- Subsection (a) does not apply to the offer for
	sale or provision of, or other trafficking in, any
	previously-owned interactive digital device, if such device was
	legally manufactured or imported, and sold, prior to the
	effective date of regulations adopted under section 104 and not
	subsequently modified in violation of subsection (a) or 103(a)

    [The prohibition (here) of modifying code contravenes the GNU GPL,
    definition of FSF Free Software, and OSI Open Source.]

    <...>

    Sec. 103.  PROHIBITED ACTS.

	(a) REMOVAL OR ALTERATIONS OF SECURITY. -- No person may--

	    (1) remove or alter any certified security technology in an
	    interactive digital device; or

	    (2) transmit or make available to the public any copyrighted
	    material or other protected content where the security
	    measure associated with a certified technology has been
	    removed or altered.

    [The prohibition (again) of modifying code contravenes the GNU GPL,
    definition of FSF Free Software, and OSI Open Source.]

    <...>

    Sec. 109.  DEFINITIONS.

	In this title:

	    (3)  INTERACTIVE DIGITAL DEVICE. --  The term "interactive
	    digital device" means any machine, device, product,
	    software, or technology, whether or not included with or as
	    a part of some other machine, device, product, software, or
	    technology, that is designed, marketed or used for the
	    primary purpose of, and that is capable of, storing,
	    retrieving, processing, performing, transmitting, receiving,
	    or copying information in digital form.

I'd previously posted the above to the free-sklyarov list, Seth Shoen
(schoen@loyalty.org) responded:

    > That isn't necessarily true, because the licenses don't require
    > that the recipient be allowed to make modifications (or uses or
    > redistributions), just that the distributor will not forbid the
    > recipient to do these things.

To which I respond:

    GNU GPL v2, Section 7 (emphasis added):

	7. If, as a consequence of a court judgment or allegation of
	patent infringement OR FOR ANY OTHER REASON (not limited to
	patent issues), conditions are imposed on you (whether by court
	order, agreement or otherwise) that contradict the conditions of
	this License, they do not excuse you from the conditions of this
	License.  If you cannot distribute so as to satisfy
	simultaneously your obligations under this License and any other
	pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you may not
	distribute the Program at all.   

    Shoen:
    > Software patents, similarly, don't contradict these licenses, 


    The do and are explicitely enumerated in the section of the GPL quoted
    above.

Cheers.

-- 
Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>          http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?             There is no K5 cabal
  http://gestalt-system.sourceforge.net/               http://www.kuro5hin.org
   Free Dmitry! Boycott Adobe! Repeal the DMCA!    http://www.freesklyarov.org
Geek for Hire                        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/resume.html
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