FDL (was: Free Music License?)

Bernhard R. Link brl at pcpool00.mathematik.uni-freiburg.de
Thu Aug 18 17:16:22 UTC 2005

* Simo Sorce <simo.sorce at xsec.it> [050818 10:55]:
> > And while they have all obvious and subtle differences, and may be best
> > when written from scratch, this is just impossible. By sheer lack of
> > time I can neigther rewrite my Operating System every time I it for
> > some other target, nor can I write enough documentation without
> > heavily using everything else documentating this program including the
> > source code of it.
> Rewriting an operating system or rewriting a document/book are 2
> entirely different tasks, and you either do not write OSs or do not
> write books if you try to make such a silly comparison. Why do you think
> each year get printed many thousands of new books and no OSs ?

Thanks for calling my text silly. May I answer with a plea to read
what I wrote before answering? Thanks.

As I wrote, I'm not speaking about books (And you assume right, I never
wrote a book). I'm speaking about documentation for free software.
And I hope you will agree that there if definitly a large lack of it.

> > Thus the information and its copyrightable containers in forms of
> > sentences and paragraphs must be able to flow between all these
> > different forms and ideally the source code of the machine interpreted
> > code of the program, too.
> And you can do that for sentences, and probably small paragraphs too.

I may be able to do that for some stentences or for a small passages, 
as that might not be enough to be counted as protected by copyright law,
but I will never know which jurisdiction will allow me how much?

> > Adding unnecessary limits to this flow between different aspects
> > (What is a title page of a manpage? What that of a cup? Where do 
> > I "include a unaltered copy" of the 3278 words license on a mouse 
> > pad? Does every manpage count as "document" and has to contain the 
> > license and all those possible invariant sections?) or between
> > the documentation and the program (Are the texts of the tooltips
> > only mere aggregation though all of this logik when to show which?
> > Or do I have to write them in a clear-room implementation on my
> > own?) keeps us away from getting free programs with free documentation.
> [...offensive sentence interjection removed...]
> It is just not the truth, don't you know that you can cite other authors
> works? Citation is permitted by copyright law, so you can extract a
> little portion of even a GFDL covered book and put it on a Mouse Pad
> without problems. 

Well, first of all citation is a local property of the law, i.e. there
are many different laws in different countries. Some people even claim
there are countries with no such fair use at all.
Even if citation is allowed, law normaly uses this word for a very
specific meaning of citation. As far as I as non-lawyer understand it,
the German law for example asks for the citing work to have enough
independent creation, to be verbatim or marking all modifications
including skipping of words. Things are compressing whole sentences
changing notations to fit with the rest are definitly no citation.

> [...offensive prephrase removed..] you can contact the author and ask
> for permission to get substantial parts of a text and agree on a
> different license [...]

This might be good for a work from a single author, but gets harder
the more the freedom is used and the more people contribute.
Asking for another license mostly means that the license does not fit.
Needings authors to agree later means the authors (or copyright
owners) can allow or forbid me as they see fit. They have this right,
but I'm reluctant to call anything requiring that "free".

> > 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.

Well, invariant sections are another building site. The GFDL makes it
easy in this case to produce non-free documents that are more free
than a verbatim license. In my eyes that is a disadvantage of it,
as it keeps people from using even more free possibilities, like
adding removeable invariant sections.

	Bernhard R. Link

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