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endorsements disclaimer as part of the warranty statement



On Sat, Jun 15, 2002 at 12:34:28PM -0500, Jeff Licquia wrote:
> This is entirely possible.  It might be worth considering whether:
> 
> 1.  The endorsements clause be made a part of the license and/or
> copyright notice.
> 
> 2.  All endorsements be required to be stripped when incorporating a
> work into a GPLed work.
> 
> This would eliminate the problems.  Since the endorsements clause is
> part of the original license and/or copyright notice, it can't be
> modified anyway under the GPL and the requirements of copyright law. 
> That leaves us with the endorsements themselves; stripping them entirely
> would prevent their modification.

Actually, as Nick Phillips pointed out, the most appropriate place for
the "not-necessarily-endorsed" statement might be within the no-warranty
statement.  After all, the DFCL is target towards expressive content,
not "functional" software, so the endorsement statement is analogous to
a disclaimer of warranty.

I've got serious battle fatigue from fighting with people who think that
the GNU GPL is some kind of Borg device that can de facto change the
licensing terms on independently copyrighted works that have nothing to
do with the GNU GPL (which they don't, if you don't try to combine them
with a GPLed work).

So the warranty approach may be the best.

On the other hand, it might just mean another battle.  The same people
with religious faith in the GPL's action-at-a-distance relicensing might
fight just as hard to claim that GPL 1) and 2c) do not apply to a
statement that the copyright holder does not warrant that the opinions
expressed in the work are necessarily his/her/its own.

Still, upon reviewing my copy of _Black's Law Dictionary_, it's a battle
I'm willing to fight.

First, let's review the GNU GPL:

	1. You may copy and distribute verbatim copies of the Program's
	source code as you receive it, in any medium, provided that you
	conspicuously and appropriately publish on each copy an
	appropriate copyright notice and disclaimer of warranty; keep
	intact all the notices that refer to this License and to the
	absence of any warranty; and give any other recipients of the
	Program a copy of this License along with the Program.

	2c. If the modified program normally reads commands
	interactively when run, you must cause it, when started running
	for such interactive use in the most ordinary way, to print or
	display an announcement including an appropriate copyright
	notice and a notice that there is no warranty (or else, saying
	that you provide a warranty) and that users may redistribute the
	program under these conditions, and telling the user how to view
	a copy of this License. (Exception: if the Program itself is
	interactive but does not normally print such an announcement,
	your work based on the Program is not required to print an
	announcement.)

Now, let's see how _Black's Law_ defines a warranty:

	2. Contracts.  An express or implied promise that something in
	furtherance of the contract is guaranteed by one of the
	contracting parties; esp., a seller's promise that the thing
	being sold is as represented or promised.

Now, let's have a look at the GPL's "warranty" (actually a disavowal of
same):

11. BECAUSE THE PROGRAM IS LICENSED FREE OF CHARGE, THERE IS NO WARRANTY
FOR THE PROGRAM, TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW. EXCEPT WHEN
OTHERWISE STATED IN WRITING THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS AND/OR OTHER PARTIES
PROVIDE THE PROGRAM "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER
EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED
WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. THE
ENTIRE RISK AS TO THE QUALITY AND PERFORMANCE OF THE PROGRAM IS WITH
YOU. SHOULD THE PROGRAM PROVE DEFECTIVE, YOU ASSUME THE COST OF ALL
NECESSARY SERVICING, REPAIR OR CORRECTION.

So, might not the DFCL say something like:

BECAUSE THE CONTENT OF THE WORK IS FREELY MODIFIABLE BY ALL THIRD
PARTIES, THERE IS NO WARRANTY THAT ANY REPRESENTATIONS MADE WITH IN ARE
MADE BY, ON BEHALF OF, OR WITH THE CONSENT OF THE AUTHOR(S) OR COPYRIGHT
HOLDER(S).  ANY STATEMENTS MADE WITHIN THE WORK ARE NOT NECESSARILY
HELD, SHARED, OR ENDORSED BY THE AUTHOR(S) OR COPYRIGHT HOLDER(S).

We might also need an analog to the GPL's section 12 that disclaims
liability for any misrepresentations, libel, defamation of character,
etc.  There is, after all, nothing to stop an anonymous third party from
taking a work and adding the statement "President Bush smokes crack" to
it.  The author may have nothing at all to do with such a claim.

I'll note that the GNU FDL makes no warranty statement at all, and
offers no disclaimer of tort liability for libelous speech or anything
else.

So anyway, that's my latest approach to the endorsements problem.

Now, go ahead, boys, tell me how it's GPL-incompatible and how I'm
violating "the principle of least surprise".

Thanks for bringing this issue to my attention, Nick.

-- 
G. Branden Robinson                |    Somewhere, there is a .sig so funny
Debian GNU/Linux                   |    that reading it will cause an
branden@debian.org                 |    aneurysm.  This is not that .sig.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |

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