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Re: Does masquerading conflict with artistic control?

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From:
Allison Randal
Date:
April 28, 2006 16:25
Subject:
Re: Does masquerading conflict with artistic control?
Message ID:
C3DAA2EB-B80E-4221-A57E-4EB52CE3227E@wgz.org
On Apr 26, 2006, at 21:45, Charles Bailey wrote:

> In reading the new draft of the AL, I'm struck by the potential of
> section 4 (and by extension 5) to support ham-handed or malicious
> replacement of the Standard Version.  As I read it, a Modified Version
> may replace the Standard Version on a system as long as the author of
> the MV makes the changes available to the author of the SV, whether or
> not the SV's author wants them.  As a concrete example, one might
> distribute a version of Perl that sends a copy of the process
> environment (or /etc/passwd, or name-your-favorite-local-info) to the
> distributor prior to executing the task it was invoked to perform.  It
> would be legitimate under 4(a) to replace the default Perl
> installation on the system with this "modified" version, as long as
> you sent Larry Wall a patch which would cause the standard Perl to
> send you this info as well.

Potentially, yes, though once they've given their complete source  
code to Larry/TPF under the Artistic License we can publicly reveal  
exactly what they've done. No one would choose to install such code  
once they're aware of what it's doing.

If someone were maliciously installing hacked versions of Perl on  
people's machines against their will, that would fall into a  
completely different legal category, and isn't something for a  
license to address.


> ... but the potential for
> (at least reputational)  harm to the original author and the SV seem
> substantial.

Other legal tools are helpful too, such as the Perl trademark to  
identify versions of Perl that are sufficiently Perl-ish. (This one  
definitely would not be.)


> P.S. One other <nit type="trivial">If you disclaim implied warranty,
> why not expressed?</nit>  I guess one can claim that "express
> warranty" is now a term of art.

If you include every possible warranty disclaimer, it could run for  
several pages. You have to draw the line somewhere, and this one fell  
on the "unlikely to apply" side.

Allison

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