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Re: Proposed statement wrt GNU FDL

Henning Makholm <henning@makholm.net> writes:

>      If only we could be sure that the license on the manuals would
>      allow a user who thinks that "because!" is reason enough for
>      him, to remove the GNU Manifesto, we probably could still
>      distribute the unmidified manuals with the Invariant Section in
>      it. That would mean that part of what we distribute (namely the
>      Invariant Section itself) would not, strictly speaking, be
>      modifyable, but exceptions can be made for things that are both
>      sufficiently non-software-like not to need modifyability for
>      technical reasons and sufficienly relevant not to just
>      constitute a waste of space in the distribution.  Of course
>      both of these limits are judgement calls, and each particular
>      Invariant-But-Removable section will have to be considered on a
>      case-by-case basis.  [Hmmm.. so I think at least, but I'm not
>      sure that this is a clear d-l consensus. -HM]

I think this is definitely not the d-l consensus.  On one hand, the
benefits to be gained from a free-software-like approach to purely
artistic/aesthetic (i.e., non-functional) works aren't as obvious.
While one can imagine exceptions, it's not as useful to mix-and-match
bits of a novel into your own novel.  You don't see nearly as many
collaborative novels or paintings as programs, and I imagine that an
authors pride in a work is much more associated with the work as a
whole in the case of a novel or painting than in a program.

On the other hand, this is an extremely fuzzy distinction, there are
numerous exceptions, and bits that fall into one category will
sometimes move into another.  It seems to me that most of the
pride-in-work issue can be resolved by a license that requires
accurate attribution and changing the name (so as to make the changed
attribution perfectly clear) when modified.  Those requirements
(assuming they're done right) are pretty clearly DFSG free, I think.

So I'm sympathetic to someone who says: My work is my personal
communication with the world and it doesn't make sense to put it in a
commons.  But I don't see any reason for Debian to distribute these
folks' statements (fictional, rants, or otherwise) unless in some sort
of (semi-)official way Debian actually supports or endorses the

Jeremy Hankins <nowan@nowan.org>
PGP fingerprint: 748F 4D16 538E 75D6 8333  9E10 D212 B5ED 37D0 0A03

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