Monday, 2014-12-08

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indoleringI've got a (re)licensing issue (hangover from Github not prompting people to use licenses) is this an okay place to ask questions?13:44
indoleringBasically, the original repo didn't state a license and we've gotten permissions from all but one developer.13:46
indolering(to move to the LGPL or the GPL)13:46
indoleringHe made a dozen or so commits ranging from trivial to moderate.13:48
indoleringI've got a developer who is insisting that we follow clean-room procedures, i.e. writing a spec and having another dev implement it based on that spec.13:49
indoleringOnly 1 or 2 commits were over 100 lines of code.13:51
indoleringI've got a lot of unofficial education in this area but I need approval from a higher authority to convince him.13:52
fontanaindolering: TINLA13:59
fontanaindolering: IANYL13:59
indoleringfontana: understood.13:59
fontanaindolering: I would regard clean room for a few hundred lines of code to be a disproportionate response. Just replace/remove/rewrite, try to avoid copying13:59
fontanaindolering: Almost certainly too nontrivial to ignore though14:00
bkuhnSorry, just got off the phone and now have to go idle, but will catch up on backlog when I get back in about 45 min.14:01
indoleringfontana: would you agree that 1-10 line commits are probably to small to express anything original?14:01
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indoleringbkuhnIdle: I think I've got it covered.14:02
indoleringI just found a presentation from the eclipse foundation regarding contribs under 100 lines.14:03
indoleringThank you fontana!14:03
bkuhnIdleEclipse Foundation's opinion on this is widely considered bizarre and unsupported by any relevant case law or legislation.14:13
bkuhnIdleaaron williamson's copyrightability memo is the best resource I've seen on this question14:13
bkuhnIdleIt's basically  beyond the scope of so I haven't included any material on this in the Guide.14:14
bkuhnIdle(ok, really idle now, more later)14:14
indoleringthanks bkuhnIdle14:14
indoleringbkuhnIdle: are you referring to this:
fontanaindolering: 10 line commits *on average*, yes14:25
fontanabkuhnIdle: though aaron's memo reflects the Zeitgeist of the early SFLC era :)14:26
* fontana is not familiar with what Eclipse Fdn says about <100 lines14:27
fontanaindolering: deletion of a line has no copyright significance :)14:27
ollyis that clearly always true?14:29
fontanaolly: maybe not14:29
indoleringfontana: basically that contribs under 100 lines does not require the contributor to sign the CLA.14:30
fontanaindolering: that is a different issue though14:30
ollyit would seem to lead to the conclusion that a carved sculpture can't be copyrighted!14:30
indoleringBut it looks like it must be under the Eclipse License originally, so it's irrelevant x2.14:30
fontanaolly: I haven't yet seen a software source code context where deletion of a line was in itself something I thought worthy of copyrightability analysis14:30
indoleringolly: I think your metaphor doesn't map cleanly :)14:31
indoleringfontana: is that the essay bkuhn was referring to?14:31
fontanaindolering which essay? aaron's?14:31
indolering"aaron williamson copyrightability" didn't turn up much on Google.14:32
fontanaAaron wrote a good article on copyrightability in source code. IIRC after 7 years it basically concludes though that you might as well assume that everything's copyrightable, which is not of practical help14:32
fontanaindolering: check publications14:32
fontanaindolering: the thing is, some things might be copyrightable but are too unimportant to worry about14:33
ollyfontana: it certainly seems hard to argue in general14:33
fontanaolly: I see how deletion of text can create a derivative work of text, but I don't think this usefully carries over to software in most cases14:33
fontanaI'm sort of mixing a few things up here though14:34
indoleringfontana: as in it's contribution is immaterial and the party must show damages of some sort?14:34
fontanaindolering: Well I wouldn't even go down that path14:34
fontanaindolering: at Red Hat I dealt with a lot of relicensing situations14:34
indoleringWell, 9 lines of range-check code ....14:35
indoleringfontana: yeah?14:35
fontanaindolering: right...14:35
fontanaindolering: has this person outright refused to grant license or is person just no where to be found?14:35
indoleringno where to be found.14:36
indoleringIt's a cryptocurrency, so anonymous devs are common.14:36
fontanaindolering: It got to the point where in many cases I was comfortable with sending an email to last known email address, explaining situation and saying "let us know ifyou have any problems with this"14:36
indoleringHis forum email was for safemail.14:36
fontanaHowever, these were smaller contributions in terms of lines of code than you are talking about here14:37
indoleringfontana: Ahh.14:37
fontanaThis might be I dunno adding 20 lines of code14:37
fontanaThere's a certain tendency towards fundamentalism on this sort of issue that must be combatted14:37
indolering"Originality Requirements under U.S. and E.U. Copyright Law"14:38
indoleringfontana: thank you.14:38
indoleringIt's Namecoin and we are trying to make Tor hidden services usable.14:39
fontanaindolering: yes that is aaron's article14:39
indoleringWhich means we *will* piss off powerful people, so concern about people going after us is real.14:39
indoleringBut his is pure paranoia.14:39
fontanaindolering: Aaron's article is probably due for updating in light of Oracle v. Google (pending possible SCOTUS treatment)14:41
indoleringIf someone wants to file a harassment lawsuit ... going after obscure contributions ....14:41
indoleringfontana: yeah, the SCOTUS outcome has me sweating bullets.14:41
indoleringIt will screw up everything.14:41
fontanaindolering: only the copyright holder can really complain about copyright infringement14:41
indoleringI couldn't stand to hear abou tit.14:41
indoleringabout it*14:41
indoleringfontana: yeah, he thinks the NSA or something will come down on us.14:42
indoleringWhich is nuts.14:42
indoleringBut ... when you are dealing with money in such volumes ....14:42
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fontanahi  bkuhn14:42
indoleringYou are a vector to attacks on what amounts to a bank.14:42
indoleringSo paranoia creeps in.14:42
bkuhnThis is somewhat off topic here.14:43
indoleringAnd, well, the harassment of Tor devs has us all kinda freaked out.14:43
bkuhn(It's tangentially related)14:43
bkuhnI think there are two analysis you have to do:14:43
bkuhn(a) are this person's changes copyrightable (the answer is frankly almost always yes, particularly when you factor in every jurisdiction in the world, which you have to for Free Software)?14:43
bkuhn(b) what's the RISK if we fail to get this person's assent to relicense.14:44
fontanabkuhn: there's also a (c)14:44
bkuhnwhich is?14:44
fontanabkuhn: (c) what is the ETHICS of making use of the code in a particular way that may be inconsistent with how it was (not) licensed14:44
bkuhnagreed, that's important as well.14:44
fontanabkuhn: Since the risk is often so small, ethics can loom large14:45
bkuhnindolering: I assume by the fact you're answering that you've tried for months via various means to contact this person and the person remains unresponsive?14:45
fontanabkuhn: If go by risk it can justify rampant GPL noncomplaince14:45
indoleringfontana: I think the lax Github licensing indicates intent to allow permissive licensing.14:45
indoleringbkuhn: maybe a month.14:45
indoleringBut by the time we rewrite it, yes.14:45
fontanaindolering: I think most GitHub-using developers who don't indicate license probably intend something like 'public domain'14:46
indoleringfontana: agreed.14:46
indoleringbkuhn: essentially, when it comes to (b) we are freaked out.14:47
indoleringHa, we had our Tumblr blog mysteriously disappear and we were trying to figure out what happened, examining login logs and looking to cut off peoples permissions.14:48
indoleringOur security guy works with Dan Kaminsky and we were this -> <- close to calling in favors and getting yahoo security to investigate.14:49
indoleringAnd then I said, "Uhh, I'm going to Google this." and yeah, Tumblr just randomly deletes blogs sometimes.14:49
bkuhnSo, you don't have any contact information or even the person's real name?14:49
indoleringWe have an email.14:50
indoleringHe will probably pop up in the next year.14:50
indoleringBut that code is due for a rewrite anyway.14:50
indoleringI'm just saying that the people who will be rewriting it don't need to follow strict clean room procedures.14:51
indoleringRead it, rewrite it, move one.14:51
indoleringHaving one dev write spec and another implement it is a waste of time.14:51
indoleringThe fear is just driven by what's going on with Tor devs, a Seattle area dev just moved to Berlin.14:52
indoleringIt's lame.14:52
bkuhnWell, you should ask for an opinion letter from a copyright lawyer if the risk frightens you that much.  That's expensive to give, lawyers hate giving advice in writing in a binding way.14:52
bkuhnI don't really understand why the risk frightens you so much, though.14:52
indoleringThis one doesn't frighten me.14:53
bkuhnoh, but you said: "bkuhn: essentially, when it comes to (b) we are freaked out."14:53
ollycopyright litigation doesn't appear to be one of the NSA's key weapons14:53
indoleringWell, in general we are freaked out.  When devs start moving to other countries because of harassment ...14:53
indoleringolly: my point exactly.14:54
bkuhnolly: they have evidence his person is a front for the NSA?14:54
indoleringLong term, our legal plan is to just make sure core devs are in academia.14:54
bkuhnright, so I don't think you should worry that much.14:54
bkuhnAs usual, you can't get legal advice from anyone but your own attorney,14:54
indoleringRight, then they have a university legal team.14:55
bkuhnbut in similar situations I encourage doing a semi-clean room thing where you have someone take a set of git-exported patches from the bottom up, in order, leaving out the ones from this dev.14:55
bkuhnand then fill in the gaps with code to make the patches apply on the way up.14:55
bkuhn(newly written code)14:55
bkuhnthen you have a git tree rebuilt with replacement code in the right palces.14:55
indoleringBut not forcing someone to write a spec?14:56
bkuhnDepends on how scared you are.14:56
fontanaolly: NSA can't sue for copyright infringement unless they acquire (or already own) the copyright in question here :)14:57
bkuhnfontana: yes, that was my point.14:57
indoleringI'm not that scared, most of the paranoia isn't justified.  Even Tor hasn't dealt with legal harassment.14:57
bkuhnWell, the bigger issue is if the project becomes famous and widely adopted, the guy shakes down commercial adopters.14:57
indoleringAnd, as you can tell, we are pretty on top of the legal issues.14:57
bkuhnAnyway, this is really off topic.14:58
indoleringI just needed an expert to back me up.14:58
bkuhnI'm somewhat amazed that most of the traffic on this channel since we started it has been is random copyright questions.14:58
indoleringbkuhn: right, that won't happen.14:58
bkuhnIt's obvious there is no venue for such questions, because people feel they have to come here to ask them in the Free Software community.14:58
indoleringbkuhn: yeah, faif was my first choice.14:59
bkuhnhaha. :)14:59
fontanabkuhn: Incidentally I was thinking the other day we ought to set up a public mailing list to allow free discussion of FLOSS legal issues14:59
bkuhnbut that's still basically asking the same group of people more or less. ;)14:59
indoleringbkuhn: or a Q/A on stack exchange.14:59
bkuhnyeah, I doubt anyone on stack exchange has this kind of expertise.14:59
indoleringbkuhn: I was *trying* to go somewhere it would be on topic :)14:59
bkuhnNo, i get that!14:59
fontanaI think there already are stack exchange forums for such things15:00
bkuhnIt's just interesting to me that there really is NO PLACE to ask this stuff in the Free Software community.15:00
indoleringfontana: I seriously doubt it.15:00
bkuhnIt makes me think someone need to write a larger tutorial about this stuff.15:00
indoleringI had to go to some crappy legal website last year to get cheap lawyer advice because there was no resources.15:00
indoleringThe lawyer I spoke gave advice that was commiserate with his pay.15:00
indoleringi.e. he just made shit up and didn't know what he was talking about.15:01
bkuhnThe problem that people don't get about all this stuff is that it's a matter of risk assessment and that the risk for the volunteer developer is relatively minimal, yet the volunteer developer is the most worried most of the time.15:01
indoleringBecause when it comes to tech ...15:01
indoleringI tried to explain that.15:01
bkuhnAnd then big companies basically mislead on the issue:15:01
bkuhnTake things like the DCO for example:15:01
bkuhnMost big companies were saying that was inadequate.15:02
pehjotaCopyright and licensing questions are sometimes posed in #gnu and #fsf, but they're often questions already answered in the GPL FAQ, not deeper copyright issues like this.15:02
bkuhn(Heck, even I was sold and bought that bill of goods).15:02
bkuhnNow, that big companies realize they can't possible vet Linux from ground up for copyright provenance like IBM wanted originally, they all have become pro-DCO because they live with the inevitability of it's the best they can get.15:02
bkuhnIt's gotta be very confusing for people out there trying to understand this stuff, b/c the issues are used for political manipulation.15:03
indoleringbkuhn: exactly.15:03
bkuhnOne thing I've tried to do in the Guide (to bring this back on topic a bit :), is make it clear when politics are related to an issue and how pro-copyleft theorists tend to examine these politics.15:03
indoleringTrying to explain to people that most of this stuff has to do with liability law (and not a clearly defined technological issue) is difficult.15:03
bkuhnAt least that way, people who disagree with we pro-copyleft people can make an assessment of what we're saying in an academically honest environment.15:04
bkuhnI wish the "other side" would be academically honest, but they aren't.15:04
indoleringbkuhn: yeah, you do really good work.15:04
indoleringIt's hard to get our messaging out there.15:04
indoleringI'm working on an alternative to Github's awful
bkuhnindolering: well, it doesn't have to do with liability LAW per se, it has to do with "what is the likely mode of attack and what risk".  The claim could be a pure copyright one, but it's a 'liability' (in the mundane sense of the word)  to have copyrighted code in your project that is not properly licensed15:05
bkuhnThe funny part is that having done so much copyleft enforcement in my life, I'm amazed people are so afraid of this.15:05
indoleringWell, I was speaking more generally.15:05
bkuhnI've said publicly so often that there are hundreds, probably thousands, of companies every day making money by violating the GPL flagrantly.15:05
bkuhnAlmost no one cares except me.15:05
bkuhnAnd yet, these same people will in the next breath tell me "how risky" it is if you don't "check provenance of every line of code".15:06
indoleringMost people think lawyers are wizards and the rest of us are muggles.15:06
bkuhnYes, copyright infringement happens a lot.  Yes, it must be resolved when pointed out, and best practices should be implemented to prevent it.15:06
bkuhnindolering: Yeah, any ideas on how to end that perception?15:06
indoleringBetter messaging.15:07
bkuhnI've been fighting that perception in the Free Software community for a decade now.15:07
bkuhnby whom though?15:07
indoleringHave you heard of George Lakoff?15:07
indoleringUhh, me.15:07
indoleringIt's pretty simple, once you understand the cog-psych.15:07
indoleringYou just have to apply some usability engineering.15:08
indoleringFigure out if people understand the concept.15:08
indoleringWell, step 1 is to setup a think-tank of sorts.15:08
indoleringBut you've all done that.15:08
indoleringYou have scholars putting out ideas.15:08
indoleringStep 2 is to package those concepts for digestion widely.15:09
indoleringStep 3 is to create a method of dissemination.15:09
bkuhnindolering: the problem is that to change large amounts of messaging requires resources that no community-oriented Free Software org has.15:09
bkuhnI agree these methods work, but they need heavy funding to be effective.15:09
indoleringbkuhn: you have already done the hardest part.15:09
bkuhnb/c you have to assign people the task of putting that forward.15:09
bkuhnNice of you to say, but I doubt it. ;)15:10
indoleringI watched Lakoff's think tank fail because they couldn't' get long term funding.15:10
indoleringThen I watched the director of his think tank fail to get funding too.15:10
indoleringSo, 10-15 years now.15:10
bkuhnso his failure sort of proves my point?15:11
indoleringYou have the FSF the SFLC and the Conservancy.15:11
bkuhnwho is "you" there?15:12
bkuhnnot me, for sure.15:12
indoleringYou ran the FSF.15:12
indoleringSo that larger community.15:12
bkuhnYeah, true, and I'm on the Board.15:12
bkuhnBut, small non-profit orgs like FSF and Conservancy, struggle constantly with minimal funding.15:13
indoleringAs ... eccentric as RMS is and quircky on a persona level, he gets framing better than 99% of people.15:13
bkuhnFSF always has.15:13
indoleringLakoff had to shut down.15:13
indoleringMy friend can BARELY support himself.15:13
bkuhnYeah, I get that.  That's true for most of us non-profit people.15:13
indoleringbkuhn: you are too pessimistic.15:14
bkuhnBut, I think generally it's very tough to fight the power of the wealthy.  That's been true for millennia.15:14
indoleringI have experience here, it only takes a small thing.15:14
indoleringWe can and will start regaining ground.15:14
bkuhnIf there is some small thing I should have done for, FSF or Conservancy that I didn't do, feel free to tell me and I'll see if I can do it. :)15:15
indoleringNo, keep doing what you are doing.15:15
bkuhnI already work 14 hours a day helping to keep these various initiatives from collapsing. :)15:15
indoleringYeah, likewise.15:15
indoleringI'm trying to get Namecoin off the ground.15:15
bkuhnWhile lots of people try to make them collapse, including people who pretend to  be allies. :)15:15
bkuhnYeah, I know.  You're in Conservancy's eval queue, even. :)15:15
indoleringIt's hard, but it's doable.15:15
bkuhnbut now we're really off topic here. :)15:16
indoleringHow is talking about the future of the copyleft movement off topic?15:16
bkuhnWell, I've been tolerant of this since this channel is so quiet all the time, but we probably should try to keep discussion to itself.15:16
bkuhnwell, I am not sure that's what we're talking about. :)15:16
indoleringAre you busy or could we move it to a PM or faif?15:16
bkuhnI'm ALWAYS busy, I have six urgent things I haven't done yet today that I was supposed to do before noon.  That's my life, man. :)15:17
indoleringI mean, I *should* be writing a grant proposal to NLNet but I think this is a productive conversation.15:17
bkuhnindolering: I'd suspect your NLNet grant application is a better use of your time right now. :)15:17
bkuhnwe'll have time to chat later at some point, I'm sure.15:17
fontanabkuhn: there's a closed, invite only list that sometimes discusses things like this15:25
* fontana reading backlog15:25
bkuhnfontana: yet I'm not invited to that list, after a decade of ingratiating myself to it, even though I have literally at this point "written the book on copyleft".  How could that closed, invite-only list possibly represent the best information available for this?15:27
fontanabkuhn: it really isn't a good source of information even if it were "open"15:27
bkuhnSo then why bring it up at all?15:29
fontanabkuhn: to underscore the point that the only resource of this sort we have is a proprietary (as it were) one15:29
indoleringIs a DCO a kind of CLA?15:31
indoleringOh, nm15:31
indoleringThe exact opposite of the CLA.15:32
fontanaindolering: there are different viewpoints on this15:32
fontanaindolering: it is basically a political question.15:32
fontanaindolering: some DCO supporters call the DCO a CLA to get CLA-loving corporations to consider it as a CLA alternative15:32
indoleringBasically the heterogeneous vs homogeneous assignment debate?15:33
fontanaindolering: not sure what that is :)15:33
indoleringProjects with heterogeneously licensed code leave it to the contributors and homogeneously licensed code get them to sign it over.15:34
indolering... to a legal entity.15:34
fontanaindolering: ah, hadn't seen those terms used before in this context15:34
fontanaindolering: CLAs don't involve assignment, but something similar15:34
fontanaindolering: er, the typical CLA model.15:34
fontana(what I sometimes call "Apache-style CLAs")15:35
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indoleringOh, I thought CLA's reassigned ownership.15:36
paultagthat's usually copyright assignment, not a CLA15:37
paultagCLAs can become troublesome when inbound rights aren't the rights you have outbound15:37
paultagwhich is basically the same as asignment15:37
pehjotaI think DCO is kind of an inbound=outbound CLA, which maybe makes it not really a CLA.  Also the inbound license isn't the point of the DCO (and doesn't allow proprietary relicensing), as it is in normal CLAs.15:38
indoleringpaultag: inbound rights?  As in the rights granted to the the 3rd party and the rights of what the 3rd party can do?16:05
paultagindolering: close, your rights as a consumer of the project16:05
paultagindolering: so for instance, one objection to Canonical using GPL with CLA means you have to use GPL, whereas they use it in nonfree stuff, meaning your rights are not the same as the rights you've granted to them16:05
paultagthe GPL used as a 'weapon' in that case16:06
paultagit should be *everyone* has to use GPL-316:06
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paultagbut they can use it in nonfree applications, denying user freedom16:06
indoleringpaultag: I'll have to read up on it.16:11
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pehjotaindolering: The inbound license is the license the contributor grants for the patch(es) to the project's maintainers, and the outbound license is the license under which users may modify and distribute the software.  Without any CLA or CAA, inbound=outbound is implied; this is the usual case.  DCO makes this explicit and makes the contributor certify the code's origin.  A CLA or CAA usually grants the16:32
pehjotaproject maintainers more rights than users have (e.g. Canonical's inbound CLA and outbound GPL).16:32
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