FDL (was: Free Music License?)

Seth Johnson seth.johnson at RealMeasures.dyndns.org
Thu Aug 18 09:02:21 UTC 2005

Simo Sorce wrote:
> On Wed, 2005-08-17 at 17:07 +0200, Bernhard R. Link wrote:
> > So please, whenever you have or feel to release something under GFDL,
> > please consider dual-license it adding the permissions of the GNU GPL
> > or any other free software compatible with the program documented.
> No, you can't generalize like that. If I express my political views in a
> paragraph, I want them to stay as they are, verbatim, that's why
> invariant sections exists. If they didn't exist I would be forced to put
> all the work under a verbatim license as I do not agree others can
> change MY thoughts. So the GFDL is a lot more Free then a verbatim
> license for instance and give enough freedom to change technical parts,
> correct errors, update info in a text without falling in revisionism.

I've long had difficulty with this rationale for invariant

It's the nature of digital works that they can be manipulated,
and it seems to me to be appropriate that people recognize that a
text that is not directly from the author, or attested to by the
author, or PGP-stamped by the author, may have been modified.  I
much prefer simply PGP-stamping text as a way of providing means
to ascertain that the author's actual words are represented.  I
always say what I write is out there in a malleable form; go
ahead and do what you wish with it; just don't go misrepresenting
me.  This is the basic principle that we apply when people relay
messages verbally, and it's part of the logic of paraphrasing,
where you're expected to "go to the source" before taking
somebody's version of what somebody else said at face value.  We
continue to assume somebody's paraphrasing unless they indicate a
direct quote with quotation marks.

Invariant sections are a strange concept when compared to
traditional copyright jurisprudence -- they seem to project the
idea that you have the ability to directly control what people do
with the content of your expressive works once they're released
into the wild, which is not the real nature of copyright, WIPO
and DMCA notwithstanding.  Copyright is a recourse that can be
taken when infringements occur; it's not really about direct

Seth Johnson


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