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Re: DFSG analysis of default LDP license



On Sat, May 17, 2003 at 01:52:57AM -0400, Anthony DeRobertis wrote:
> On Tue, 2003-05-13 at 02:41, Branden Robinson wrote:
> > Colin Watson helpfully provided this information in a recent mail:
> 
> >            4. The location of the original unmodified document be
> >               identified.
> 
> > I feel that this clause might be problematic in a way that clauses 1, 2,
> > and 3 would not be, in that the information in 1, 2, and 3 cannot become
> > false over time.
> 
> First, it doesn't have to be a network location. So I think we could
> distribute as original + patches; the location we'd point to would be
> the .orig file in the pool.

Uh, "the pool" *is* a network location.  Or at the very least, it's not
something on the installed system.

> >         5) applicable, non-redundant disclaimers of endorsement [3]
> 
> That's not compelled speech --- I can always remove it (and often have
> to, if I change the document) if I disapprove of it.

You didn't read what I said or follow the link, apparently.  I said
"*disclaimers* of endorsement".

> > 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).

Like that.  Surely that must stay in just as warranty disclaimers must,
and for similar reasons, no?

Endorsement statements themselves must be severable, and indeed serve
little purpose if they aren't, and the work is otherwise modifiable.
("Sure, I'll endorse ANYTHING!")

> > I recommend dropping this clause.
> > 
> >            5. The original author's (or authors') name(s) may not be used
> >               to assert or imply endorsement of the resulting document
> >               without the original author's (or authors') permission.
> 
> I don't think it's so critical it be dropped; I think it just restates
> what the law already does. If modified a work to include hateful
> propaganda, and didn't make it clear that is not the original author's
> opinion, I'd be in trouble for defamation.

I didn't say it was critical.  I'm just identifying a way I think the
license can be approved.  As I said in my reply to Joey Hess, the "BUG"s
I identified are gray areas, not flagrant violations of the DFSG.

But I like clearing up gray areas where possible, because lawyers who
write licenses tend to use every square in of gray area as an excuse to
write a license clause that takes a square mile.

> E.g., 
> 
> (36pt) Some Document
> [ illustration, blank space, whatever ]
> (16pt) by J. Hacker
> (9pt) with modifications by others
> 
> and then putting all those others in the full copyright statement in 8pt
> type is likely to still be defamation.

I'm not really in a position to opine on defamation law, and furthermore
I don't find it very relevant to the default LDP license, which doesn't
even raise the issue.  I think your remark here would be better placed
in the "droit d'auteur" thread.

> > 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).
> 
> Not many end-users of a published book will read that.

So what?  Copyright cartels and shrink-wrap license freaks have been
arguing successfully for years in U.S. courts that ignorance of the fine
print is no excuse.

So, either your point is irrelevant (in the U.S.), or we might get to
enjoy the spectacle of the aforementioned special interests reversing
themselves someday.

> It won't much save someone's reputation. The only way this works is if
> its very close to the places where the authors' names are mentioned.

How can you possibly know this?  Why is putting this material where
the disclaimers of warranty go insufficient?  Point me to some case law
supporting you assertions about what is and is not a sufficient means to
avoid a defamation suit.

-- 
G. Branden Robinson                |    I have a truly elegant proof of the
Debian GNU/Linux                   |    above, but it is too long to fit
branden@debian.org                 |    into this .signature file.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |

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