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Re: FunnelWeb manuals copyright issues


At 9:55 PM +0100 26/12/1999, Yann Dirson wrote:
>Hi Ross,

Thanks for your email.

>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.

You're correct; they're not. BTW: My understanding is that GNU
documentation is not actually covered by the GPL; it's covered by the
notice which I include at the end of this message (I remember RMS
once mentioning that "we use a different licence for documentation"
so I tracked one down). Am I right about this?

>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 I think you may be interested in knowing that we won't be able to
>ship the manuals together with the software - that is, people
>receiving a Debian CDROM won't be able to browse the docs if they do
>not have an inet connection.  
>Here are the points I spotted - I'd be grateful to you to confirm my
>reading of the copyright.
>I think the licence conflicts with:
>- section 1 (free redistribution) - the copyright does not seem to
>allow distribution of the docs without the software.

This appears to be a correct black-letter reading, but I'm not sure
it's what I intended, and I don't think I intend to impose this
restriction now! I think I was mainly trying to eliminate the
frustration of someone who encountered the documentation, but couldn't
find the executables! By requiring them to be bundled, I eliminated
that possibility.

>- section 2 (source code) - I thought, reading those docs, that the
>HTML format you distribute may not be the "prefered format for

Correct! The true "source" for these webs are .fw FunnelWeb source
files. I didn't bother to ship them because:

  1. They use lots of my personal include files, which I couldn't
     be bothered disintangling.

  2. I didn't think anyone cared. Hardly anyone uses FunnelWeb as
     a web tool, so I didn't think it mattered.

  3. I wasn't permitting derived works anyway.

>- section 3 (Derived Works) - these do not appear to be allowed.

I was playing it safe because I wanted to protect the FunnelWeb
language. Also, I tend to be a bit protective  of my authorship.
I don't want people modifying my documentation which people
will assume that I wrote in its entirety.

>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 imposed this restriction because I didn't want people putting up
copies of the manuals on the web and then leaving them there for all
eternity while my manual web was updated. Someone looking for the
manuals in (say) AltaVista would find all those ancient versions
and might not even be able to find the current one in all the noise.
Given that the internet collapses the world into a single point, I didn't
see the point of having more than one copy of the manuals online. Why
not have just one copy online - the latest version - and let the
search engines find them?

Having only one copy online also allows me to measure traffic and
see if anyone is using FunnelWeb and which parts of the manual
they're interested in and what they're searching for.

>I thought at first 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.

Hmmm. :-(

>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.

Yuk! :-)

>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.

OK. Well I guess if we solve this, the documentation is either
going to fall under your main distribution or your non-free
distribution. I think it's desirable that it fall under the free
one so I'm prepared to compromise (a lot) to do so, including
the abandonment of my one-web policy. :-( Tell me if the following text
satisfies the ten commandments:

     Copyright © Ross N. Williams 1992,1999. All rights reserved.
     Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim electronic
     copies of this FunnelWeb (www.ross.net/funnelweb/) manual provided
     that all notices (including, without limitation, the copyright notice,
     this permission notice, any record of modification, and all legal
     notices) are preserved on all copies. Modified versions of this manual
     (including translations to other languages) may be distributed under
     the same terms, provided that each modification made to the manual
     since its original release by Ross N. Williams (www.ross.net) is
     identified on the page on which it occurs, and the front page of the
     manual carries a notice referring the reader to the official version
     at (www.ross.net/funnelweb/). You may print out part or all of the
     manual for individual or organization-wide internal use.

If I use this AND provide the FunnelWeb-source-of-the-webs, would
that enable you to include the whole lot in your main distribution?

BTW: Please provide a deadline for shipping the revised manuals.


Dr Ross N. Williams (ross@rocksoft.com), +61 8 8232-6262 (fax-6264).
Director, Rocksoft Pty Ltd, Adelaide, Australia: http://www.rocksoft.com/ 
Protect your files with Veracity data integrity: http://www.veracity.com/


This file documents the the GNU `diff', `diff3', `sdiff', and `cmp'
commands for showing the differences between text files and the `patch'
command for using their output to update files.

   Copyright (C) 1992, 1993, 1994 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

   Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this
manual provided the copyright notice and this permission notice are
preserved on all copies.

   Permission is granted to copy and distribute modified versions of
this manual under the conditions for verbatim copying, provided that
the entire resulting derived work is distributed under the terms of a
permission notice identical to this one.

   Permission is granted to copy and distribute translations of this
manual into another language, under the above conditions for modified
versions, except that this permission notice may be stated in a
translation approved by the Foundation.

This file documents the the GNU `diff', `diff3', `sdiff',
and `cmp' commands for showing the differences between text files and
the `patch' command for using their output to update files.

   This is Edition 1.2, for `diff' 2.4 and `patch' 2.1.


Dr Ross N. Williams (ross@rocksoft.com), +61 8 8232-6262 (fax-6264).
Director, Rocksoft Pty Ltd, Adelaide, Australia: http://www.rocksoft.com/ 
Protect your files with Veracity data integrity: http://www.veracity.com/

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