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Re: Please remove RFCs from the documentation in Debian packages

On Fri, Jul 04, 2003 at 02:03:11PM +0200, Florian Weimer wrote:
> Andrew Suffield <asuffield@debian.org> writes:
> >> Debian really needs a separate policy for works which are not
> >> software.
> >
> > We could have a policy for non-software, but it should still exclude
> > non-free things. What you are trying to say is "Debian really needs to
> > include non-free things".
> There are borderline cases, such as the GFDL or free works in
> non-editable formats (PS, PDF, in some cases even HTML), or licenses
> or other documents of perceived legal relevance.

I have argued on debian-legal that licenses as applied to specific works
that are part of the Debian OS (meaning, "in main") are permitted to be
non-modifiable, for the same reason that the copyright notices
themselves are permitted to be non-modifiable.  In many countries,
including the U.S., it is a criminal offence to obliterate or modify an
copyright notice such that a work's copyright becomes fraudulent.
However, a document like the GNU GPL which claims copyright and has
non-free license terms could not be distributed in main of itself.
(Yes, I know that we ship it in a way you might think is "of itself" in
base-files.  You'd be right if we didn't have other packages' copyright
files refer to /usr/share/common-licenses/GPL, but we do.)

It doesn't seem too much of a stretch (to me) to say that the same
prohibition applied to the binding terms of a license text is not
problematic, for it obviously benefits us and our users to have correct
and true license terms on the software we distribute.

If we cannot have a good-faith belief that the license terms stated on
a work are not the ones that actually apply, then we might as well get
out of the distribution business.

None of this reasoning applies to the IETF's RFCs.

G. Branden Robinson                |    If a man ate a pound of pasta and a
Debian GNU/Linux                   |    pound of antipasto, would they
branden@debian.org                 |    cancel out, leaving him still
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |    hungry?              -- Scott Adams

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