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Re: REVISED PROPOSAL regarding DFSG 3 and 4, licenses, and modifiable text

On Sat, Dec 01, 2001 at 05:51:29PM -0500, Branden Robinson wrote:
> [Debian Policy group: I am not sure if the Debian Policy Manual is an
> appropriate forum for any of the following material.  I invite your
> opinions.]

-policy is traditionally for technical policy, which the DFSG isn't. A
-legal FAQ or HOWTO or similar isn't an unreasonable thing to start.

> 1) Copyright notices used as such (i.e., not as examples) are permitted
> to be held non-modifiable.
> 	This guideline is proposed to legitimize the status quo within
> 	Debian.

The status-quo's already quite legitimite, rabble rousers on mailing
lists aside, especially wrt licenses and copyright notices and the like.
"Clarifying some excpetions" or something is probably more accurate.

> 2) License text used as such (i.e., not as an example) [...] is permitted 
> to be held non-modifiable.  
> 	Only actual contractual license terms are protected under this
> 	interpretive clause.  Material that is used to inform, persuade,
> 	exhort, or otherwise interact with the (putative) licensee but
> 	which is not legally binding is not covered by this clause.

This doesn't particularly match current practice. If upstream has
a license that says "You can do what you like with this, but if you
distribute it to someone, you must pass on all the rights you have,
and you must include this complete text, unmodified. Also, if you like
this program, please scratch a dog behind the ears." that's fine, even
though the latter sentence is not contractually obligating.

> 3) An amount of non-modifiable auxiliary material which is not legally
> binding upon a licensee is permitted to exist in conjunction with the
> license terms, and the packaging of the work so licensed should reflect
> this.  Such material may not exceed 32 binary kilobytes (32,768 bytes)

That doesn't make any sense at all. If you want to say "Auxiliary
material to the license must be fairly small", that's fine, but making
up a byte size, and then going on with other strange controtions is
just nuts. These are *guidelines* remember. Most people are still able
to tell the difference between "big" and "small".

> 	The last sentence is merely a fancy way of saying [...]

Also, it's probably a better idea to avoid the fancy ways of saying
things if they're unclear enough that you need to restate them in
simpler language.


Anthony Towns <aj@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG signed mail preferred.

 "Security here. Yes, maam. Yes. Groucho glasses. Yes, we're on it.
   C'mon, guys. Somebody gave an aardvark a nose-cut: somebody who
    can't deal with deconstructionist humor. Code Blue."
		-- Mike Hoye,
		      see http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/armadillos.txt

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