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Re: Aspell-en license Once again.

On Mon, Nov 04, 2002 at 04:04:18PM -0500, Kevin Atkinson wrote:
> The question here is not if word list or copyrightable but if
> if it is OK to use aspell-en.  I specially avoided this issue in my 
> argument.

Jeff Licquia posted a very good summary of the facts from debian-legal's
perspective regarding aspell-en specifically, and recommends we accept
the package as is.  I agree with him.  I guess we'll give any would-be
opponents a couple of days to raise objections with substantive

> > I don't know if Aspell-en is part of the Aspell project, or a discrete
> > thing.  If the former, could you get an official opinion from the FSF's
> > legal eagles regarding this issue?  Such an opinion would carry a lot of
> > weight with Debian, even if it wouldn't be determinative.
> Um, excuse me.  As a said before RMS specifically said that in the case of 
> Aspell-en there was not a problem:
>   I think it is safe for us to use those wordlists.  The person who
>   avoided texts marked "copyright" was operating under an erroneous idea
>   of how copyright law works, but if all he did with those texts was make
>   word lists, this should not be a problem anyway.

My apologies; the Debian legal list's own correspondence with RMS
suggested that he felt differently about "how copyright law works"
regarding word lists.  So either I'm misunderstanding RMS or, as they
say, a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

> What about Fair Use?  Even if word lists or copyrightable all counties have 
> a provision of fair use and I could argue that how I used the word list 
> was within the bounds of fair use.

I'm tempted to agree.

> > I don't understand your last sentence; are "Debian" and "anal" not words
> > in the word lists you've used to spell check your message?
> Yes I do.  Both of the misspelled words are in my word list.  Is there a 
> reason you felt the need to point this out.

I thought maybe you were making a joke.

> If I have to do something I do not fell is necessary I have every right 
> call Debian-legal anal.  Or in other words I can and I will.

I'm not challenging your right to call Debian whatever names you wish; I
was asking you to be courteous.  You have every right to refuse that
request, but I'd like for Debian to enjoy a harmonious relationship with
its upstream sources of software.

I'm sorry you find correspondence with the Debian legal mailing list so
frustrating.  We are simply trying to be careful, and protect ourselves
and our users from liability as best we can as lay people.

This pain and suffering was largely made for us by copyright laws that
have been perverted to serve the expansionst, mercantilist, rent-seeking
aspirations of corporations.  We'd all be better off if copyright law
worldwide were vastly reformed to reflect common sense and human rights
rather than a welfare system for corporations and the heirs of dead

G. Branden Robinson                |    If a man ate a pound of pasta and a
Debian GNU/Linux                   |    pound of antipasto, would they
branden@debian.org                 |    cancel out, leaving him still
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |    hungry?              -- Scott Adams

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