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Re: Documentation licenses (GFDL discussion on debian-legal)

On Tue, Dec 03, 2002 at 09:25:58PM -0600, Eric Baudais wrote:
> The reason for documentation guidelines because the DFSG and GPL only
> protects code.  The code is not the same as published text and published
> text has a longer and more established legal history than code does.  If
> a person would print out documentation and reprint it under their name
> the GPL and DFSG will not apply.  You have converted the digital text to

First of all, the DFSG does not apply to what people do in the privacy of
their own homes; rather, it applies to decisions made in the Debian project
about whether or not to include packages in our distribution.  So it's
irrelevant anyway.

Secondly, there is nothing different about having a document on disk in
digital form and having it on paper in analog (or digital!) form.  Copyright
law applies either way, as does contract law.  You have the right to make a
copy for your own uses either way, under fair use provisions.  You do not
have the right to sell that copy under normal Copyright laws.  If you want
to sell that copy, you must do it under the provisions of the GPL, which
grants you permission given certain requirements are met.  These
requirements are solely a function of the GPL, not of some overriding law,
and as such, need not be a function of the distribution medium unless the
FSF so chooses.

> published text and published text follows very different rules.  This is
> the main reason why Debian and the Free Software world needs a
> documentation license which the GFDL has met.

Based upon such a flawed premise, it's hard to see how you have drawn that
conclusion.  (I'm not saying that I disagree, but that the logic makes no
sense to me.)

> The vast majority of the documentation contained within all the GNOME
> core packages is licensed under the GFDL.  If Debian were to declare the
> GFDL a non-free license then almost all the GNOME packages would have to
> be put into non-free.  The GNOME project has already debated the GFDL. 

Or the *documentation* would have to be.

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