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Re: Source Code of Music (was: various opinions on Debian vs the GFDL)

Thomas Uwe Gruettmueller <sloyment@gmx.net>:

> So the problem here is that the source code of sample data is 
> more sample data. These samples might again require their 
> sources, and so the resulting tree could be enormous.

When distributing the source, you don't have to distribute the whole
tree; you only have to distribute the leaf nodes and the Makefile or
build script.

If you are only using a one-second sample from a recording, then you
might prefer to distribute just that one second as source, provided,
of course, that the licence allows it. You can take an extract from a
GPL work and distibute it under the GPL. Unfortunately, you can't do
the same with a GFDL work if it has "invariant sections".

> This is why I think that licenses of free music recordings should 
> not require the distribution of their source code at all.

I tried to write a paragraph explaining why I think it should be all
right to require source, the way the GPL defines source, but changed
my mind while writing it.

Take for example the case where you create D by digitalising an
analogue recording A and then want to contribute D to a GPL work W.

Anyone who wants to make an improved version of D would obviously like
to have access to A, so A is clearly source, but you can't include the
original analogue recording in the source distribution, so you have a
problem. If you were to destroy A then you might be able to argue that
D is now the source, but you might not want to destroy your valuable
historic wax cylinder any more than you want to distribute it,
whatever that means.

You have a similar but less severe problem if A is a high-precision
digital recording (with lots of random noise in the low bits) and D is
a compressed version: clearly A is source of D, but the requirement
for everyone who distributes D to keep a copy of A, or for written
offers to be provided, is quite a burden. Perhaps it would be doable
if some public sound archive could keep the original data and provide
written offers to distributors for a reasonable charge. Public sound
archives do exist, but I don't know whether they can provide written
offers to satisfy the GPL requirement on distributors.


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