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Re: The debate on Invariant sections (long)

On Tue, 2003-05-27 at 12:46, Richard Stallman wrote:
>     But why, if you found the old BSD license to be so inconvenient, are you
>     promoting a license which mandates even greater inconveniences upon the
>     end user?
> I think you make the inconvenience out as more than it is.  To have an
> invariant sections piled on in large quantities is a hypothetical
> possibility, which may occur sometimes, but that doesn't mean it will
> happen often.  I don't think the overall magnitude of this
> inconvenience will be very large.

I can accept that to an extent Richard, but your own arguments against
the BSD advertising clause as just as relevant now as then. 

> But perhaps I understand the question you have in mind.  If you are
> asking why the invariant sections provide sufficient freedom to
> modify, the answer is that people can make whatever substantive
> changes they wish in the technical functionality of the manual.

OK, I can see the logic in that and personally I am in favour of the
distribution of the GNU philosophical texts to as wide an audience as
possible, but as other list users have argued, certain potential uses of
the license could be construed as restricting functional usage in
inconvenient ways.
Such as the requirement to add a political text to a reference card, or
page after page of invariant cover texts which are mandatorily required
to be included in all derivative works.
I know you feel that fair use would cover the reference cards et al. but
as some other list users have pointed out, that in countries such as the
UK (where I live) there exists no such provision, and potentially a mean
spirited person or organisation could insist on a very literal reading
of the license.
Perhaps making their functionally useful work of severely limited use to
others due to masses of invariant additions. 
I realise that from your replies to other posts, you feel that such
groups would not be worth dealing with, but it leaves us with only the
freedom to use or not to use, and completely removes the freedom to
modify without hindrance that was previously enjoyed by the community.

John H.
John Holroyd <valisk@softhome.net>
Demos Technosis Ltd

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