Advocating the Open Publication License easier?

Wouter Vanden Hove Wouter.Vanden.Hove at
Thu Jul 18 19:23:09 UTC 2002


To recapitulate: asking a professor to change their courses from the
traditional copyright-notice to the FDL, causes him or his staff the
extra work of creating an online version, which in almost all cases does
not exist now.

To put it frankly, it comes down to this:
(Of course I wouldn't put it in an email this blunt:)

"Dear Professor,
Could you please change the copyright-notice to the FDL.
And could you add some cover-texts that has to be on the book if some
publisher prints your course commercially without paying you any
royalties which he's then very much allowed to do.
And could please download and install OpenOffice.
And could please load your Word-file into Openoffice and save that in an
open and transparant format.
And could you check that all of the conversion of your 200-page syllabus
went OK.
And could you put that file in your ftp-directory .
And could you write in your text-book that anyone can download it from
And could leave that file there for at least one year.
Thank you very much."

Quite some demands, not?
Is the FDL in such cases to big a step to take at once?

Wouldn't be more succesfull (on a quantitative scale) to advocate the
Open Publication License for university-syllabusses?
The only thing they have to do then is change the copyright-notice.
I can imagine that quite some people don't like the commercial
redistribution by publishers without receiving any royalties. They will
probably refuse to switch to the FDL. Instead of sticking to the
traditional very restrictive notice, they can choose option B of the
OPL, that prohibits commercial publication.  

I don't really see objections in this option B, since it is more like an
industrial regulation, not affecting small distributors like students
and non-profit-organisations, giving a lot more freedom to users then
traditional copyright-notices. 
The Open Content License, on the contrary, prohibits asking a fee for
the copies. This renders it useless if courses are distributed by

What do you think?

Wouter Vanden Hove

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