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Re: New DFSG-compliant emacs packages

Daniel Schepler <schepler@math.unipd.it> writes:

> On Sunday 29 October 2006 01:25 am, David Kastrup wrote:
>> >         I am prevented from making a small version of the manual
>> >  to go along with the emacs prc I hav made for my palm device;
>> >  since memory all limited.
>> Not at all.  You are prevented from _distributing_ such a manual,
>> and I have not ever seen such a project.  It would probably be easy
>> enough to get permission from the FSF for such a version without
>> the GNU manifesto if you could show its usefulness.
> No, the FDL explicitly says "You may copy and Distribute the
> document ...  provided that this License, the copyright notices, and
> the license notice ...  are reproduced in all copies."

Fair use is not obliterated by the FDL.

> So it does apply to any copies whatsoever that you make.  (Also, how
> is one supposed to show its usefulness without sending it to them,
> which _would_ be an act of distributing the modified manual?)

Nonsense.  Distribution is what happens to third parties, not the
copyright holder.

> Here's another reason I consider FDL manuals for programming
> languages like Emacs, Bison, or Flex especially egregious: suppose I
> include some example code from the manual in a program I'm writing.
> Whoops, suddenly the FDL applies to my program, and anybody who
> prints out my source code has to call it "A GNU Manual", which is
> ridiculous; and if I also used any GPL code, I'm just out of luck.

If the examples are small enough not to constitute any copyrightable
content (and most will be), this is irrelevant.

If there are large examples, then the advice on
<URL:http://www.gnu.org/licenses/fdl.html#SEC4> holds:

    If your document contains nontrivial examples of program code, we
    recommend releasing these examples in parallel under your choice
    of free software license, such as the GNU General Public License,
    to permit their use in free software.

There is, of course, no automatism doing so.

> Unless I assign copyright to the FSF so they can use their ownership
> of the example code to relicense, and that might be something I'm
> not willing to do.  Moreover, in the case of Emacs, I have to
> include the GNU manifesto with the program distribution, whether or
> not I completely agree with it.

Feel free to mention in your version of the manual that you do not
agree with it.  You can even make your comment invariant.

> There are also problems with the current FDL, in that it makes it a
> license violation to transmit an FDL document over an encrypted SSH
> connection, or even chmod o-r it.  Those are things any user should
> be able to do without thinking about it, which is why I actually
> voted for the option "FDL is non-DFSG in all cases" in the GR.  But
> it seems I was in the minority among Debian developers on that
> one...

Again, fair use (and that involves normal handling of files) is
nothing a license could prevent.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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