FDL requirements for original author

hwe hwe at fsfe.org
Tue Feb 5 10:48:38 UTC 2008

I'm promoting use of the FDL for textbooks and lecture notes at our 
university.  It critically depends on section 3.

    The specific question is: *If I publish my own work
    as a PDF under the FDL in the web, do I need to
    provide the LaTeX sources?*

Section 3 of the FDL requires publishing a transparent copy if more 
than 100 opaque copies are published.

Since PDF is opaque, the background questions are

   - Does the FDL apply in full to the original author as well?  Ie., 
does the term `copy' in sec 3 denote `piece' (also original) or 
`REprocution' (which does not cover the original)?

   - IF it applies, how many units are published when I put the file 
online?  One?  As many as downloads?  [1]

   - IF more than 100, publishing the pdf without the tex violates the 
FDL.  Yet, since only the copyright holder could pursue the offence, 
and that's me, for all /practical/ matters I'd be fine?
   Clearly, I can't recommend to use a license and infringe it:  What 
license would you recommend for those who like the FDL but are 
unwilling to reveal their LaTeX sources?

Thanks for any insights,

[1] If one publishes as often as there are downloads, the license 
would encourage taking content offline as soon as 99 are reached -- 
hardly the intention of a free license.  Also, since this timed taking 
offline is a prohibitive effort, the FDL would discourage putting the 
document online: It was made for ~20 students, so handing print-outs 
would be FDL compliant.  I don't believe the FDL wants to provide 
incentives to hide the text offline, either.

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