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#1 2024-01-28 02:11:12

Asha
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From: Australia
Registered: 2024-01-08
Posts: 8

Arch Linux and copyright; forum vs wiki vs package rules

Is there an official Arch Linux policy against grey-area use of their distribution regarding copyright?

It seems odd & inconsistent for there to be forum posts like this from administrators whilst Arch openly provides/facilitates detailed wiki listings for, and offers, packages such as yt-dlp on Extra (i.e. not the Wild West of AUR, nor the deniability it provides). I understand the forum Code of Conduct prohibits the discussion of 'criminal solicitation' such as "prohibited use of copyrighted/patented material" - yet the inconsistency remains.

If Arch holds such a taboo (whether moral or legal) against discussing how to avoid ads on YouTube that the post must be locked to prevent anyone from weighing in, then how is the same organisation facilitating software explicitly designed to download content from YouTube and the like, without ads, without permission - and against YouTube's TOS?

The expected response of "it's an ambiguous, universal tool that can be used on many different sites" doesn't hold up; it's hard to rationalise software as a tool with legitimate application when the upstream source is obviously and predominantly billed as a YouTube downloader and visibly contains code designed to scrub such content from YouTube, notwithstanding the title explicitly stating its purpose: 'yt' doesn't stand for 'yellow tulip'.

This is neither an attack on Arch's forum administrators/moderators, nor it's developers (and yt-dlp's developers) - but there's clear inconsistency here between forum rules, what's detailed on the wiki and what's provided by Arch through official repositories.


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#2 2024-01-28 03:10:34

Trilby
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Re: Arch Linux and copyright; forum vs wiki vs package rules

Asha wrote:

Is there an official Arch Linux policy against grey-area use of their distribution regarding copyright?

No.

Asha wrote:

If Arch holds ... then how is the same organisation...

There is no "Arch", there are just a bunch of arch linux users; there is no "organization" to be the same between your two examples, there are just forum people, and packagers which are completely different people.  And even these people come and go over time.

There is a long-standing de facto standard in the forum backed by current and recent former admins / moderators to take a fairly strict stance on such things and disallowing discussion of software meant for violating copyright or other IP.  But the forum admin / moderators have no direct influence on what gets packaged in the repos or AUR.

There is another bit of software similar to yt-dlp but much worse* which kept coming up in the AUR, and the TUs responsible for the AUR at that time took a similar position to the forum staff that said package should be removed / banned from the AUR (quite possibly due to arguments made by forum staff).

* "Worse" in that the other software actively violated copyright.  Yt-dlp does not violate any copyright anymore than watching the same content on youtube.com would.  Yt-dlp "merely" circumvents youtube's marketing and may then be against youtube's terms of service.  While perhaps not the noblest thing to do, going against one website's preferences is far far different from violating international law.

EDIT: given this distinction between software that violates laws and software that rather just pisses off the owner of one website, I'm not sure there's as much of a contradiction as you state.  The forum rules explicitly disallow discussions of strategies to violate laws, but do not speak directly to circumventing third party T.O.S.'s.  The closed thread you linked to shows that ewaller extrapolated from this forum rule and opted to close a thread for violating google's policies: this was a moderator judgement call (a good one ... but still a judgement call).

Also note that there are at least three levels at which such decisions can / should be made: legal, ethical, and practicality.  Violating copyright is always illegal.  The forum staff, at least, take a strict stance that it is also unethical, though there are certainly ample copyright abolishonists around who disagree.  Violating youtube.com / google's T.O.S. is perfectly legal.  It's debatable whether it's ethical.  But it's definitely not practical: they have a fleet of lawyers who can and will go after anyone they see as harming their bottom line (I'm pretty sure this is why yt-dlp is no longer called youtube-dl).  So from a practicality level, the forum staff don't want people discussing things on these forums that would draw the wrath of google-lawyers ... even if such activity was fully legal and even felt ethically okay to us.

So TL;DR, nothing illegal should be on the forum, wiki, or in packages.  If you find anything illegal report it and it should be fixed.  Things that are "merely" unethical or impractical will be handled differently by different parts of the community as the practical risks will vary and subjective assessments of the ethics will also vary.

Last edited by Trilby (2024-01-28 03:49:44)


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#3 2024-01-28 03:52:56

Asha
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From: Australia
Registered: 2024-01-08
Posts: 8

Re: Arch Linux and copyright; forum vs wiki vs package rules

Trilby wrote:

There is no "Arch", there are just a bunch of arch linux users; there is no "organization"

We're splitting hairs here aren't we? Regardless of whether Arch Linux is a private company or an open source community, there is still a hierarchy of influence, responsibility and decision-making amongst its members: this distribution wouldn't have lasted as long as it has if there weren't those within 'Arch' that have heightened powers over others in which to police such content. If you really want to get technical, the contents of this site are owned by (or at least as stated to be in the footer) Judd Vinet, Aaron Griffin and Levente Polyák - so if Google were to take issue with yt-dlp, they'd be first on the cease and desist letter.

The very reason I mentioned AUR is because there is an explicit statement that it contains unverified "user content" with users bearing full risk - no such statement is made on the official repositories, which at minimum implies there is some deferment of responsibility with official repositories and their packages - hence my question about consistency in the application of rules across 'Arch'.

Trilby wrote:

But the forum admin / moderators have no influence on what gets packaged in the repos or AUR.

Fair enough, but it's nonsensical that Arch users are unable to discuss on the Arch forums behaviour that is facilitated by a package on an Arch repository.

Trilby wrote:

Yt-dlp does not violate any copyright anymore than watching the same content on youtube.com would.  Yt-dlp "merely" circumvents youtube's marketing and may then be against youtube's terms of service.

The usage of the yt-dlp package on YouTube explicitly violates YouTube's Terms of Service:

The following restrictions apply to your use of the Service. You are not allowed to:

  1. access, reproduce, download, distribute, transmit, broadcast, display, sell, license, alter, modify or otherwise use any part of the Service or any Content except: (a) as specifically permitted by the Service;  (b) with prior written permission from YouTube and, if applicable, the respective rights holders; or (c) as permitted by applicable law;

  2. circumvent, disable, fraudulently engage, or otherwise interfere with the Service (or attempt to do any of these things), including security-related features or features that: (a) prevent or restrict the copying or other use of Content; or (b) limit the use of the Service or Content;

  3. access the Service using any automated means (such as robots, botnets or scrapers) except: (a) in the case of public search engines, in accordance with YouTube’s robots.txt file; (b) with YouTube’s prior written permission; or (c) as permitted by applicable law;


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#4 2024-01-28 04:00:45

Trilby
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Re: Arch Linux and copyright; forum vs wiki vs package rules

Asha wrote:
Trilby wrote:

Yt-dlp does not violate any copyright anymore than watching the same content on youtube.com would.  Yt-dlp "merely" circumvents youtube's marketing and may then be against youtube's terms of service.

The usage of the yt-dlp package on YouTube explicitly violates YouTube's Terms of Service

I'm not sure what this reply means: you're just reiterating what I said, right, just with the added emphasized "explicitly"?  It doesn't matter how "explicit" a violation is of terms of service, that still does not make it illegal or a violation of copyright.

Last edited by Trilby (2024-01-28 04:01:53)


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#5 2024-01-28 04:10:31

Asha
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From: Australia
Registered: 2024-01-08
Posts: 8

Re: Arch Linux and copyright; forum vs wiki vs package rules

Trilby wrote:

The forum rules explicitly disallow discussions of strategies to violate laws, but do not speak directly to circumventing third party T.O.S.'s.

Copyright theft is illegal and even if the content downloaded is not the intellectual property of Google, they absolutely can take people/entities to court over defrauding their advertising revenue. I doubt Arch, it's developers or moderators, would split hairs over the difference between criminal and civil court when determining which content to police.

Trilby wrote:

I'm not sure what this reply means: you're just reiterating what I said, right?

I'm replying to your 'may' - it's not a point of ambiguity: it's black-and-white not allowed.


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#6 2024-01-28 04:24:26

Allan
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Registered: 2007-06-09
Posts: 11,423
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Re: Arch Linux and copyright; forum vs wiki vs package rules

The two teams involved here are run fairly independently.  The forum team say no discussion based on their interpretation of the rules.  The packager team say it is OK to include in the package repositories based on their interpretation of the rules.  This is not inconsistent.  One is "can we legally package this software?" and one is "are we allowed to discuss circumventing copyright?".

There is people further up the chain who could overrule both these groups.  But it is very, very unlikely.  And those that can overrule will never likely see this forum post.  Which means this discussion is worthless...

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#7 2024-01-28 04:25:35

Trilby
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Re: Arch Linux and copyright; forum vs wiki vs package rules

It's not allowed by their terms of service ... which again, are not laws.  I have friends with a sign on their front door that says please remove shoes before entering.  If I go into their house with shoes on, I may be an asshole, but not a criminal.  I couldn't be arrested for wearing shoes in their home (if they tell me to leave due to be being such an ass and I don't leave, then I could be charged for trespassing, but still not for wearing shoes in their home).

Blocking ads on youtube is like wearing shoes into my friends home.  It's not illegal.  Period.  But it may be a dick move, and you should not expect to get help doing it on these forums.

Last edited by Trilby (2024-01-28 04:28:50)


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#8 2024-01-28 05:04:50

Asha
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From: Australia
Registered: 2024-01-08
Posts: 8

Re: Arch Linux and copyright; forum vs wiki vs package rules

Allan wrote:

One is "can we legally package this software?" and one is "are we allowed to discuss circumventing copyright?".

And if the software is specifically designed to circumvent copyright protection and/or advertising, thereby defrauding a company?

Allan wrote:

Which means this discussion is worthless...

A question seeking clarification about rule uniformity and consistency doesn't seem worthless from my perspective. Is anything asked on these forums that you already know 'worthless'? Would you like me to apologise for wasting your precious time?

Trilby wrote:

It's not allowed by their terms of service ... which again, are not laws.

Again, my reply was to your 'may' - I never claimed that breaching a TOS was illegal in and of itself.

Trilby wrote:

If I go into their house with shoes on, I may be an asshole, but not a criminal.

If you enter their house to watch a movie together and you leave with the DVD, without permission, that is illegal. If the agreed upon conditions of entry to the house included paying to watch the movie (we 'pay' Google to watch videos with ad-time) and you break such an agreement - that's illegal. You are defrauding an individual or business of their income.

Trilby wrote:

Blocking ads on youtube is like wearing shoes into my friends home.  It's not illegal.

I don't think you understand what fraud is. Google's inability to police it doesn't make it legal.


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#9 2024-01-28 08:05:22

Allan
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From: Brisbane, AU
Registered: 2007-06-09
Posts: 11,423
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Re: Arch Linux and copyright; forum vs wiki vs package rules

Asha wrote:
Allan wrote:

Which means this discussion is worthless...

A question seeking clarification about rule uniformity and consistency doesn't seem worthless from my perspective. Is anything asked on these forums that you already know 'worthless'? Would you like me to apologise for wasting your precious time?

Yes...   But I meant worthless in that the form team have state their opinion, and the packaging team barely are seen in the forums.  So there is no possibility of any official answer here.

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#10 2024-01-28 10:58:48

seth
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Registered: 2012-09-03
Posts: 53,279

Re: Arch Linux and copyright; forum vs wiki vs package rules

Adblockers systematically violate TOS of *other* services and still you get them in googles own playstore, so there's that.
yt-tlp actively rejects patches to support services that systematically viloate laws by advancing piracy.

It is for the service provider to enforce their TOS, not the officials.
YT could very much detect "suspicious" access and block your IP in response as much as websites (incl. apparently theirs in some areas of the world?) detect adblockers or debuggers and stall execution.
If you've have a TOS to take off ones shoes when entering your home and I just keep my sneakers on, you'll may tell me to get out, but until and unless the situation escalates to be legally relevant (eg. they refuse to leave), if you call the police because someone's wearing their shoes in your house, they'll just tell you to get your head out of your ass.

If you enter their house to watch a movie together and you leave with the DVD, without permission, that is illegal. If the agreed upon conditions of entry to the house included paying to watch the movie (we 'pay' Google to watch videos with ad-time) and you break such an agreement - that's illegal. You are defrauding an individual or business of their income.

YANAL?
You're describing completely different legal contexts and theories (taking away an object and sneaking into a cinema are typically covered by different laws protecting different rights) and wrt. immaterial rights, yt doesn't even use DRM (which, btw, you're gonna watch even a legally purchased DVD "more illegally" on your linux system than you're currently using yt-dlp)

Also: DVDs? lol

Edit: as for the moderation of the other thread.
This is a technical support forum.
Except for the social threads on OT etc. you're supposed to ask technical questions, eg. why does this useragent selection w/ yt-dlp not work (cause you gotta quote or escape it in many shells) is a perfectly fine question, but either PSAs  or threads that exclusively discuss "how can I get around this kind of restriction" are frequently gonna end up in the dustbin.

Last edited by seth (2024-01-28 11:05:05)

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#11 2024-01-28 15:32:56

Trilby
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Re: Arch Linux and copyright; forum vs wiki vs package rules

By the way, I make my living by asking that when I respond to a topic on these forums, the OP of the topic venmo me a bit of cash.  If you'd like I can make that official in a Terms of Service linked in my forum signature.  At that point will you feel obligated to pay me?  If not, then in your own words, you would "break such an agreement - that's illegal. You are defrauding an individual or business of their income."

Shall I call the police to have you arrested now?

Of course not.  My ToS are mine.  They are not laws.


"UNIX is simple and coherent" - Dennis Ritchie; "GNU's Not Unix" - Richard Stallman

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#12 2024-01-28 16:18:33

ewaller
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From: Pasadena, CA
Registered: 2009-07-13
Posts: 19,899

Re: Arch Linux and copyright; forum vs wiki vs package rules

No fair starting threads like this after I shut down for the night.  Trilby did a good job covering the point of view of the forum staff.
It was I who made the call on the thread lined in first post.   I am always willing to discuss my decisions; I have been known to make mistakes occasionally.

Asha, having read this thread, it is not clear what side of the fence you fall on; pretty good way to enable a debate actually.


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#13 2024-01-29 08:25:40

Asha
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From: Australia
Registered: 2024-01-08
Posts: 8

Re: Arch Linux and copyright; forum vs wiki vs package rules

seth wrote:

You're describing completely different legal contexts and theories (taking away an object and sneaking into a cinema are typically covered by different laws protecting different rights)

Yes. Both examples describe different laws: 'taking away an object' without permission was to reflect copyright law, and 'sneaking into a cinema' without paying was to reflect defrauding a company of income. Both are independently analogous to downloading a video without permission and evading advertisements, respectively.

seth wrote:

YANAL?

You can appeal to authority, but the substance of what I'm saying is relevant. Have I been called to the bar in every jurisdiction in which Alphabet has a physical presence? Of course not. Am I capable of understanding fundamental legal concepts? Yes.

As I'd said before, Google's inability/unwillingness to police this doesn't itself rewrite copyright law.

seth wrote:

which, btw, you're gonna watch even a legally purchased DVD "more illegally" on your linux system than you're currently using yt-dlp

Also: DVDs? lol

I don't understand what you're saying here; the DVD example was to simply illustrate a physical equivalent of virtual media. Are you implying that intellectual property rights are somehow voided when published online?

seth wrote:

Edit: as for the moderation of the other thread.
This is a technical support forum.
Except for the social threads on OT etc. you're supposed to ask technical questions

As it should be, but that's not the reason that was given by the moderator.

Trilby wrote:

By the way, I make my living by asking that when I respond to a topic on these forums, the OP of the topic venmo me a bit of cash.  If you'd like I can make that official in a Terms of Service linked in my forum signature.  At that point will you feel obligated to pay me?  If not, then in your own words, you would "break such an agreement - that's illegal. You are defrauding an individual or business of their income."

Respectfully, it doesn't appear as though you know what you're talking about.

Unless you're one of the people listed on the footer of this website, you have no legal ownership of its contents. You have no authoritative basis in which to enforce its usage terms. Even if you did, there needs to be a reasonable informing of such terms to users that would allow them the possibility of declining. I can't walk into a business, house or, in keeping with the community basis of Arch, a public space and try to enforce an entry-conditioned legal contract.

Trilby wrote:

Shall I call the police to have you arrested now?

Of course not.  My ToS are mine.  They are not laws.

What you're failing to understand is that breaking the specific parts of their TOS that condition user access to their content is, in the majority (and likely all) of the jurisdictions in which they physically operate, breaking copyright law. I've already stated awareness that a TOS document itself isn't legislation - but I don't think you're interested in trying to understand this.

ewaller wrote:

Asha, having read this thread, it is not clear what side of the fence you fall on; pretty good way to enable a debate actually.

Thanks. Personally, I do use an ad-blocker and download the occasional video - but my original post was simply a genuine, good faith question of consistency across Arch, which has been explained to me. Though it seems to have devolved into a digital rights debate…


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#14 2024-01-29 08:53:25

seth
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Registered: 2012-09-03
Posts: 53,279

Re: Arch Linux and copyright; forum vs wiki vs package rules

'taking away an object' without permission was to reflect copyright law, and 'sneaking into a cinema' without paying was to reflect defrauding a company of income.

No. This is entirely not how this works.
The owner has property rights and can eg. grant and deny you entrance to their facility.
If you've been granted entrance and they wanted to enforce a TOS that says "ok, you can sit here in front of the screen, but must keep your eyes and ears closed unless you pay" that BS isn't covered by any law (outside probably north korea). By your logic, your competition is "defauding you of income" for crying out loud.

You can appeal to authority, but the substance of what I'm saying is relevant.

The point is that you've no idea what you're talking about.
Codified law is a bit more complicated than "though shalt not steal"

Google's inability/unwillingness to police this doesn't itself rewrite copyright law.

Copyright law isn't relevant here and whether your own behavior harms your own claims is for a court to say.

I don't understand what you're saying here

Just meant that DVDs are maybe a bit dated. No BRs in downunder?

Respectfully, it doesn't appear as though you know what you're talking about.

Neither have you. Trilby's example hinges on the idea of a unilateral private contract - something that doesn't exist in sane jurisdictions.
("I hereby agree that you owe me a million dollars, and I mean real dollars, not australian ones")
You're not even getting multilateral contracts to the detriment of a 3rd party
("Trilby and I hereby agree that you owe us a billion dollars, still in real money")

you have no legal ownership of its contents

Depends on jurisdiction and specific TOS (in this case of the archlinux BBS); principally Trilby holds rights on what he posts, typically depending on the threshold of originality.
Forums will typically assert rights in their TOS to be able to redact posts.
Like this thread is probably gonna be move to TGN really soon.

you're failing to understand is that breaking the specific parts of their TOS … breaking copyright law

No. TOS and copyright are different things. That's why we use different words. Dr. wikipedia could have told you that.

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#15 2024-01-30 00:51:06

Asha
Member
From: Australia
Registered: 2024-01-08
Posts: 8

Re: Arch Linux and copyright; forum vs wiki vs package rules

seth wrote:

If you've been granted entrance and they wanted to enforce a TOS that says "ok, you can sit here in front of the screen, but must keep your eyes and ears closed unless you pay" that BS isn't covered by any law (outside probably north korea).

If both parties explicitly agree before entry on a (lawful) condition, it doesn't matter how silly you think it is, breaking it is legally actionable - no matter how likely it is to succeed in court, or whether or not anyone would ever bother pursuing that. Especially if the condition broken directly impacts the primary source of income for the aggrieved party. Obviously this abstract physical scenario is far less likely to occur than the digital counterpart it attempted to explain, but people have a hard time understanding that digital property rights are just as legitimate as those physical.

seth wrote:

The point is that you've no idea what you're talking about. Codified law is a bit more complicated than "though shalt not steal"

No matter how simply you find it presented, "thou shalt not steal" is ostensibly, legally true. Downloading the intellectual property of another person or company without their permission, is against the law. The TOS describe how they grant such permission and under what conditions. I'm surprised people on a Linux forum have a hard time understanding this (unless one is in the Stallman/GNU camp of "digital ownership doesn't exist" e-communism), let alone someone with visibly enough experience as yourself.

seth wrote:

Copyright law isn't relevant here…

Copyright law isn't relevant to… intellectual property rights?

seth wrote:

…and whether your own behavior harms your own claims is for a court to say.

I don't recall claiming the opposite, I claimed that Google has a claim to begin with: that is, it's legally actionable. A judge won't throw it out for being frivolous (unless they were going after a single person for an unreasonable amount of money) and it would likely be settled given how concrete these rights are. The key issues for Google are proof, intent and optics, that's why they don't bother. Again, their historic inaction and having a legitimate legal claim against such behaviour are two different things.

seth wrote:

Trilby's example hinges on the idea of a unilateral private contract - something that doesn't exist in sane jurisdictions.

Okay? I didn't say that Google made a unilateral contract; it's not unilateral if the receiving party has an opportunity to decline. If their TOS said something absurd like "if you ever visit this site you forfeit your house to us" obviously it would never stand, but that's not what they claim.

seth wrote:

principally Trilby holds rights on what he posts

We've already established that unilateral contracts aren't valid, so whether or not they own the rights to their comments is irrelevant insofar as their ability to demand "a million dollars" from anyone that reads them. Google doesn't do this and I never claimed they did, so this is entirely a strawman argument.

seth wrote:

Forums will typically assert rights in their TOS to be able to redact posts.

No. TOS and copyright are different things. That's why we use different words.

Explain how, in your logic, forums can assert their rights in a TOS document, but companies such as Google can't assert their rights in theirs? That's what my claim was: that Google is stating in the TOS what the conditions of their copyright are, what they personally allow and disallow, not that the TOS is a legislative document drafted and passed by politicians.

seth wrote:

Like this thread is probably gonna be move to TGN really soon.

As extrapolated and abstracted as this thread has become, the original, ostensible point I was making of one part of Arch being extremely sensitive, legally, for even discussing such behaviour whilst another part facilitates it is still, in my opinion, inconsistent. But clearly the discussion has run it's course.


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#16 2024-01-30 02:54:13

ewaller
Administrator
From: Pasadena, CA
Registered: 2009-07-13
Posts: 19,899

Re: Arch Linux and copyright; forum vs wiki vs package rules

Asha wrote:

But clearly the discussion has run it's course.

I concur.  Closed.


Nothing is too wonderful to be true, if it be consistent with the laws of nature -- Michael Faraday
Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine. -- Alan Turing
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