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Re: A possible GFDL compromise



Sorry folks, I CC'd: -devel instead of -legal. God I hate Reply-To:s :)

On Fri, 5 Sep 2003 12:03:59 -0400
David B Harris <david@eelf.ddts.net> wrote:
> On Thu, 04 Sep 2003 21:55:07 -0400
> Richard Stallman <rms@gnu.org> wrote:
> >     This clause has a direct effect on all users,
> >     restricting the use of e.g. encrypted filesystems.
> > 
> > That's a new one on me.  I don't think the GFDL restricts
> > the use of encrypted filesystems.
> 
> I have mentioned it at least a half-dozen times myself, and at least
> once to you explicitly. (I believe you also responded to that mail,
> though not addressing the point in question.)
> 
> As Jamin mentions, in section 2:
> 
> "You may not use technical measures to obstruct or control the reading
> or further copying of the copies you make or distribute."
> 
> I'll also mention the first half of the sentence of section 4:
> 
> "You may copy and distribute a Modified Version of the Document under
> the conditions of sections 2 and 3 above ..."
> 
> Please don't think that I'm quoting that out-of-context. I assume that
> anybody who will respond to this message has read the GFDL as fully as I
> have, and will instead point out other sections or clauses which render
> the above sentence irrelevant (I wasn't able to find any myself, and I
> looked quite hard).
> 
> Taken literally (ie: should a copyright holder take a distributor to
> court over this point), the clause forbids _anything_ which might
> obstruct the reading or futher copying of the copies you make or
> distribute. Thus, we may not host the GFDL document on a
> password-protected portion of a web site. Nor may we use SSL to transmit
> any of the text. Nor may we store any text on an encrypted filesystem.
> An anonymous FTP server that requires USER and PASS would also fall into
> this category (regardless of whether the USER is "anonymous" or not).
> 
> I've asked a couple of lawyers, and they strongly feel that a case could
> be made (though not so clear-cut as the above examples) for copying the
> document to a place that's already protected in some form (a $HOME
> that's not world-readable for instance, or on a machine that has a
> firewall), or distributing the document in a format that may be
> extraordinarily well-documented and not patent-encumbered, but for which
> the only reader implementation is non-Free.
> 
> To RMS specifically: I have always assumed that this was simply a bug in
> the license, but it _has_ been brought up a lot, by myself as well as
> others, sometimes in messages you replied to. Now that you've noticed
> the point in question, I'm trying to present the rationale for the
> conclusion. It's not meant in a combatitive manner, nor is it meant as a
> personal attack against yourself. If for whatever reason somebody
> interprets as either of the above, I apologise and will correct that
> person if they're pointed out to me.
> 

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