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

I Second the proposal by Branden Robinson contained below.

* Branden Robinson <branden@debian.org> [011201 16:52]:
> [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.]
> [Debian GNU Emacsen maintainers: I'd appreciate your assistance in some
> fact-finding; see particularly the end of this mail.]
> Summary:
> Per recent discussion on the debian-legal mailing list regarding DFSG
> section 3 and provisions of recent documentation-specific licenses that
> have been developed in recent years, that allow for non-modifiable
> portions of the work (such as the license text itself) and mandate the
> display of certain text on the outside surfaces of physical media, I am
> proposing a guideline for interpretation of the DFSG that clarifies the
> criteria that a license must meet to satisfy the DFSG.
> Background:
> The following clauses of the Debian Free Software Guidelines should be
> held in mind when reading my proposal.  Keep in mind that my proposed
> guidelines are only that; any generally perceived conflict between the
> DFSG and my guidelines must be resolved in favor of the DFSG until and
> unless the DFSG is amended.  These guidelines are proposed and intended
> as a "gentlemens' agreement" to clarify certain areas rendered ambiguous
> by the DFSG or by current practice in the Debian Project.  (If any
> portion of this proposal is regarded as suitable for inclusion in the
> Debian Policy Manual, those portions will, of course, have slightly more
> force upon Debian Developers than a "gentlemens' agreement".)
> DFSG Clause 3: Derived Works
> The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow
> them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the
> original software.
> DFSG Clause 4: Integrity of The Author's Source Code
> The license may restrict source-code from being distributed in modified
> form _only_ if the license allows the distribution of "patch files" with
> the source code for the purpose of modifying the program at build time.
> The license must explicitly permit distribution of software built from
> modified source code. The license may require derived works to carry a
> different name or version number from the original software. (This is a
> compromise. The Debian group encourages all authors not to restrict any
> files, source or binary, from being modified.)
> For further reading:
> The Debian Free Software Guidelines ("DFSG") and Social Contract:
> http://www.debian.org/social_contract
> The GNU General Public License ("GNU GPL"):
> http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html
> The GNU Free Documentation License ("GNU FDL"):
> http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html
> The Open Publication License ("OPL"):
> http://www.opencontent.org/openpub/
> Previous debian-legal discussion:
> http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2001/debian-legal-200111/msg00006.html
> ...and most of the subsequent traffic for the month, spilling over into
> December.
> There are several aspects to my proposal.  Each is followed by some
> explanatory text.
> 1) Copyright notices used as such (i.e., not as examples) are permitted
> to be held non-modifiable.
> 	Note that a copyright notice is not the same thing as a license
> 	text.  A copyright notice is simply an assertion of copyright,
> 	such as "Copyright (C) 1900 American Widget Corporation".  This
> 	proposal is made because modification of copyright notices is
> 	construed as infringement of copyright in many jurisdictions in
> 	the world.
> 	This guideline is proposed to legitimize the status quo within
> 	Debian.
> 2) License text used as such (i.e., not as an example), and applied by
> one or more copyright holders to a work submitted for distribution by
> the Debian Project, is permitted to be held non-modifiable.  The
> licensee must have discretion to include or exclude the text of the
> license in alternative formats and/or locations outside the package's
> copyright file.
> 	License terms typically comprise the bulk of a debian/copyright
> 	file; examples of common license terms may be found in
> 	/usr/share/common-licenses on Debian systems.  Note that the
> 	placement of a license in /usr/share/common-licenses is a means
> 	of economizing on package size (both in packaged and installed
> 	forms); their intended purpose is as such, since Debian Policy
> 	instructs Debian package maintainers to not include the texts of
> 	these common licenses in their own packages' copyright files.
> 	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.
> 	The last sentence is merely a fancy way of saying that stating
> 	the license terms once within a package (at least in its
> 	installed form on a Debian system) must be sufficient to satisfy
> 	the license.  A license must not require, but may permit, that
> 	its text be duplicated in other formats (such as HTML) or
> 	locations (such an "info" document) in a work.
> 	This guideline is proposed to legitimize the status quo within
> 	Debian.
> 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)
> when viewed in plain-text form (treating all adjacent white space
> characters as one byte), and must be included in the debian/copyright
> file.  Non-textual, binary data held as non-modifiable information by
> the copyright holder(s) also counts byte-for-byte toward this limit.
> The location of any such non-textual, non-modifiable information must be
> referenced from the debian/copyright file.  The licensee must have
> discretion to include or exclude this non-license, non-modifiable
> auxiliary material in alternative formats and/or locations within the
> package.
> 	The size of the GNU GPL and the "Funding Free Software" portion
> 	of the gcc manual together in plain-text form is 20,410 bytes.
> 	This is *without* regarding all adjacent white space characters
> 	as one byte, and without excluding the portion of the GPL that
> 	is actually a binding license.  Once that is done (condensing
> 	whitespace and omitting the "TERMS AND CONDITIONS" part of the
> 	GNU GPL, which are already covered by clause 2 above), this
> 	auxiliary material consumes only 7,928 bytes.  Therefore, 32,768
> 	bytes strikes me as a reasonable limit.
> 	The last sentence is merely a fancy way of saying that including
> 	the auxiliary once within a package (at least in its installed
> 	form on a Debian system) must be sufficient to satisfy the
> 	license.  A license must not require, but may permit, that such
> 	auxiliary material be duplicated in other formats or locations
> 	in a work.
> 	This guideline is proposed to legitimize the status quo in
> 	Debian (since we do have 4-clause-BSD-licensed packages in
> 	main), and also to be cognizant of the GNU FDL promulgated by
> 	the Free Software Foundation, without condoning abuse of the GNU
> 	FDL to burden free (thus modifiable) documentation with large
> 	quantities of unmodifiable text.
> Impact of this proposal:
> 1) Works licensed under existing, understood-as-DFSG-free licenses are
> not, in general, adversely impacted by this proposal.  The GNU GPL, GNU
> LGPL, Artistic License, MIT/X Consortium license, and 2- and 3-clause
> forms of the BSD license are unaffected.  The 4-clause form the of the
> BSD License is be affected if the quantity of notices required by its
> third clause exceeds 32,768 bytes.  However, I know of no
> 4-clause-BSD-licensed package that requires such a large volume of
> advertising notices.
> 2) Works licensed under the OPL meet the DFSG if and only if neither of
> the license options listed in section 6 of the OPL are exercised.
> 3) Works licensed under the GNU FDL meet the DFSG if and only if the
> quantity of material identified as Invariant Sections or Cover Texts
> does not exceed 32,768 bytes (see clause 3 of my proposal for details).
> 4) Works licensed under the traditional GNU documentation license, which
> reads:
>    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 Free Software Foundation.
> are not adversely impacted by this proposal.
> 5) The only package already in Debian that I know of that may be
> affected by this guideline is, unfortunately, the GNU Emacs Manual.
> Other GNU manuals, such as those for gawk, gcc, make, texinfo, and
> glibc, are not affected as far as I have been able to determine (I own
> paper copies of these manuals and did check).  Even the GNU Emacs Manual
> itself may not be affected depending on the quantity of material within
> it identified as Invariant.  I welcome the assistance of others in
> exploring this issue further; however, the Free Software Foundation
> appears to be unwilling to negotiate further on this matter (so please
> don't bother them about it).
> I welcome feedback on this proposal, but please read the archives of
> debian-legal as referenced above before responding.  A great deal of
> ground has already been covered, particularly in discussions with
> Richard Stallman of the Free Software Foundation.
> -- 
> G. Branden Robinson                |    Damnit, we're all going to die;
> Debian GNU/Linux                   |    let's die doing something *useful*!
> branden@debian.org                 |    -- Hal Clement, on comments that
> http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |       space exploration is dangerous

Scott Dier <dieman@ringworld.org> <sdier@debian.org>
http://www.ringworld.org/  #linuxos@irc.openprojects.net

So I ran up to him, and the exchange went something like this:
Me: Oh my god! You're Larry Niven!
Him: Oh my god! You're Wil Wheaton!
	-Wil Wheaton, in a Slashdot interview

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