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Re: the Free Media License

Scripsit steve@blckknght.org (Steven Barker)

> The proposed license is the Free Media License (FML):
>  https://expressivefreedom.org/copyleft/fml.html

It looks fairly benign in the general case. However...

I'm a little unsure about the cover-text requirements that apply
whenever one publishes more than 100 copies. They don't look very
limiting at first read (except if the cover texts are orneously large,
in which case the license is probably misapplied anyway). However, the
tacit assumption that the Work will have a "cover" of its own bothers
me. If I take a thousand FML'ed images of half a megabyte each and
have 600 cd-roms containing them made, will I then need to include a
thousand different titles and cover texts on the physical cover of the
CDs I ship?

What if I put the file on my ftp site and it's downloaded more than
100 times? Where do I put the title and cover text in that case? What
if I run an email response server that actually sends out more than
100 copies? What's the cover of an email?

Also, it seems to me that despite the intentions not to restrict the
applicability of the license to written works, most of the clauses in
the "Modification" subsection make sense only in the case that the
work is a more-or-less traditional piece of prose:

| 6. You must preserve the section entitled "History", and its title,
|    and add to it an item stating at least the title, date, new
|    authors, and publisher of the Modified Version as given in the
|    Credits Section. If there is no section entitled "History" in the
|    Work, create one stating the title, year, authors, and publisher
|    listed in the Credits Section of the Work, then add an item
|    describing the Modified Version as stated in the previous sentence.

Hm, how do I "create a section entitled "History"" if the Work is a
bitmap? Not all bitmap formats (including some of the formats that the
license explicitly list as transparent) support having such textual
sections. And in those formats that do support it, their contents
certainly cannot be "prominent" in relation to the normal usage of the

| 8. You must cause the modified Work to carry prominent notices
|    stating that you have changed it, along with the date of such
|    change.

If the Work is an 32x32 icon, the requirement for modified versions to
carry prominent notices means that it effectively cannot be modified -
because if I do, I'd have to superimpose my prominent notice all over
the actual image (and I'd probably have to resort to pixel-by-pixel
Braille coding or something like that to make my notice fit at all).

| 9. Use in the Title and Credits Section (and on the covers, if any)
|    a title distinct from that of the Work, and from those previous
|    versions (which should, if any, be listed in the History section)
|    from which the modified Work was derived.

See comments for section 6.

| a) An easily readable font shall be used, no smaller than that used
|    in the second section of the credits (if any).

What if the Work is a sound recording? The notion of font does not
seem to apply easily in that case.

| b) Up to three artists who performed the same function or role
|    (author, technical artist, actor playing a specific role) in the
|    source materials licensed under the terms of this License shall
|    be credited in the second portion of the Credits Section, along
|    with the artist who performed the particular task in the original
|    material. This section shall be conspicuously titled "Material
|    and Performances Used Without Explicit Permission" followed
|    immediately by the following notice:

Again, if I'm making a sound recording, must I have someone read this
notice aloud at the end or my recording or what?

[Blah blah .. and so on for several of the later "Modifications" clauses]

Henning Makholm                             "We're trying to get it into the
                                parts per billion range, but no luck still."

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