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RE: propose: `cypherpunks license' (Re: Wanted: Twofish source code)



My computer alleges that  Derek Atkins[SMTP:[email protected]] wrote:


> The big issue I see with GPL and Crypto software is that with the
>  GPL you cannot add any redistribution restrictions.  The problem 
> is that due to the United States export rules, I cannot export 
> Crypto software, which means I must legally put a restriction on 
> any Crypto code I write.  But, this is a "further restriction" as far
> as the GPL is concerned.  This, in turn, means I cannot use the 
> GPL for Crypto software.

Surely the way round this is to take the "batteries not included" route?
Just use GPLed libraries or standalone modules. Or write your code in such a
way that some modules are GPLed and some aren't. Sell your modules & tell
people that they will need to get the GPL stuff through "normal channels".  

Of course, once outside the USA you are safe. Nobody *outside* the US cares
much about your export restrictions or absurd ideas about patenting software
anyway - although in many European countries, and certainly in UK, we take
copyright a lot *more* seriously than you. Copyright is widely seen as a
right, something that naturally belongs to the author or artist. In French
law they even talk about right of "paternity" in a text (part of "Droit
Moral")  even if you assign copyright to another person you are still
allowed to veto changes in it, your right is seen as inalienable, like  the
rights you have to your own person - copyright is part of personality, not
property. (This has been partly imported into English law as a a right to be
identified as the author, which has to be asserted, which you now nearly
always do). In France but not in England they also recognise the right to
withdraw a work  (although for some reason Stanley Kubrick seems to have
been able to withdraw the Clockwork Orange film in England, I don't
understand how) and the right of access to a work (an artist is allowed
access to a painting which has been sold to someone else). These things are
seen as part of personality. Just as in the US the law won't allow you to
sell yourself permanently to someone else (i.e. no slavery, even voluntary
slavery) but only rent yourself out  (employment) so in most of Europe you
can't really "sell" copyright, only rent it out.  But patents are to some
extent seen as government interference, as licensed monopoly. They tend to
be unpopular with everyone (except lawyers, inventors and pharmecutical
companies of course).

I suspect there are a lot of people who would have moral problems with
breaking someone else's software copyright but wouldn't give a dam about
breaking a software patent. An algorithm is an idea, and how can anyone own
an idea? (I'm talking morals here, not law - intersecting universes of
discourse, but not identical ones :-)

Ken Brown (and not his employers who respect patents greatly and would sack
me if I broke them at work. After all they own an awful lot of them...)