Re: FunnelWeb manuals copyright issues
Marc van Leeuwen writes:
> Yann Dirson wrote:
> > [this is a mail I intend to send to the author of FunnelWeb - I'd like
> > to be sure of my interpretation - probably this requires
> > funnelweb-docs to be discarded ASAP from the archive]
> > Reading the copyright notice available at
> > http://www.ross.net/funnelweb/tutorial/copyright.html
> > I think it does not comply with:
> > - section 1 (free redistribution) - the copyright does not seem to
> > allow distribution of the docs without the software, whereas some
> > people may like to look at the doc before installing the software
> > itself.
> > - section 2 (source code) - I thought the HTML format you distribute
> > may not be the "prefered format for modification"
> > - section 3 (Derived Works) - these do not appear to be allowed
> I agree with all three, but the motivation for 1 will probably not convince
> the author; he will say that people can browse the docs on the WWW without any
> commitment to installing the software.
That's why I added a note about people thus _requiring_ net access to
read the doc, but I can make this more prominent.
> > I thought it would be a possible candidate for the "non-free"
> > distribution that we maintain as a service to the community, but the
> > copyright does not appear to allow distributing the docs separately
> > from the program, so I'm afraid we can't even distribute it like this.
> > The last possibility I see to have the FunnelWeb docs integrated in
> > the Debian documentation system, is to provide a "wrapper package",
> > which will allow the admin to automatically download the docs and
> > install them, but this, as well as the non-free solution, would
> > require net access for users who would like to browse the doc.
> Again I agree. One might consider having the docs in non-free but depending on
> the program in main; this would make it difficult to install the docs without
> installing the program. However, this would be using a technical directive
> (you need to install the program in order to install the docs) while the
> intended meaning is legal (you are not allowed to install the docs unless you
> install the program too); I don't think it would be appropriate.
I don't think a Depends: would be necessary - I do not read the
"accompanying FunnelWeb executables or source code" to apply to the
"copies of these webs for private or internal organizational use".
So I think a mutual Suggests: would be enough, whatever the place
where the doc package is to be found - that's how I do it right now,
> Better tell
> the author that his requirements and the Debian policy make it impossible to
> include the docs with the program in Debian at all, and have him consider
> changing the requirements.
Yes, maybe it's better to explicitely propose him to do some changes.
> By the way, just being curious, I took a look at the FunnelWeb sources.
> I expected to find source files that have to be processed by FunnelWeb
Well, I expected as well :|
> My first impression
> was: the author is cheating, and distributing just the derived files, while
> keeping his real sources for himself; this would mean the program violates the
> spirit of its GPL licence.
Hm, this would not only violate the spirit of the GPL, but probably
also the GPL itself, which states:
3. You may copy and distribute the Program (or a work based on it,
under Section 2) in object code or executable form under the terms of
Sections 1 and 2 above provided that you also do one of the following:
a) Accompany it with the complete corresponding machine-readable
source code, which must be distributed under the terms of Sections
1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or,
[stripped b) and c) which do not apply]
The source code for a work means the preferred form of the work for
making modifications to it.
> On second consideration,
> Nevertheless, it would avoid confusion if the author stated
> somewhere explicitly that, despite all the advantages it advertises, FunnelWeb
> is itself not a literate program.
Yes, but that's a different issue than the one about the docs. Maybe
it's a good idea to approach him with both issues, maybe not -
A revised version follows with all points above being addressed - I
hope - changed lines are prefixed with a ">"
=== Cut Here ===
I have recently packaged FunnelWeb and its docs (in separate packages)
for inclusion in Debian GNU/Linux. However, I had not realized that
the docs were not covered by the GPL.
Reading the copyright notice available at
http://www.ross.net/funnelweb/tutorial/copyright.html, I realize there
are problems for including them after all, because all packages
included must comply with the Debian Free Software Guidelines
So that I think you may be interested in knowing that we won't be able
to ship the manuals together with the software, for the following
reasons - I'd be grateful to you to confirm my reading of the
>copyright. That is, people receiving a Debian CDROM won't be able to
>browse the docs if they do not have an inet connection.
>I think the licence conflicts with:
- section 1 (free redistribution) - the copyright does not seem to
allow distribution of the docs without the software, whereas some
people may like to look at the doc before installing the software
- section 2 (source code) - I thought the HTML format you distribute
may not be the "prefered format for modification"
- section 3 (Derived Works) - these do not appear to be allowed
Also, the restriction on not putting them on online web sites may
cause problems, because it would be easy (and used to be the default)
on Debian boxes to export the doc directory as http://machine/doc/...,
and the user may then inadvertantly violate the licence.
I thought it would be a possible candidate for the "non-free"
distribution that we maintain as a service to the community, but the
copyright does not appear to allow distributing the docs separately
from the program, so I'm afraid we can't even distribute it like this.
The last possibility I see to have the FunnelWeb docs integrated in
the Debian documentation system, is to provide a "wrapper package",
which will allow the admin to automatically download the docs and
install them, but this, as well as the non-free solution, would
require net access for users who would like to browse the doc.
>If you wish to address this problem, I'm willing to discuss this, as
>are people reading the debian-legal mailing list - possibly a solution
>can be found, which would still make you happy while allowing us to
>make the docs available.
>Also, while looking at the code, we wondered whether the .c and .h
>files were generated from literate code, or were just written as a
>non-literate program - the latter case possibly causing problems
>related to the GPL, the "preferred form of the work for making
>modifications to" the software not being available.
>In the hope we'll resolve these issues quickly, Best Regards,
Yann Dirson <firstname.lastname@example.org> | Why make M$-Bill richer & richer ?
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