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Re: Bug#202723: perl-doc: Non-free manpage included

On Thu, Aug 14, 2003 at 04:57:09PM -0400, Mark Jason Dominus wrote:
> I am the original author of the manual page in question.  I am
> presently negotiating with CMP, who acquired the Perl Journal a few
> years ago, to obtain complete and unambiguous copyright on the
> article.  If I succeed, I will release the original article and
> 'perlreftut', the derived manpage, under the GNU FDL or whatever other
> license the Debian maintainers think appropriate.  

Sounds great!  Thanks for letting the Debian Legal team know about this.

I should advise you though, in all fairness, that the GNU FDL (any
version released to date) is not regarded by the Debian Project as a
DFSG-free[1] license, so relicensing the works in question under the GNU
FDL alone would not result in a material difference in their handling by
the Debian Project.

One reason for this assessment by the Debian Project is that the GNU FDL
is not GNU GPL-compatible, so it is not possible for third parties to
move FDL-licensed documentation into Perl code via POD, for instance, at
least not without negotiating with the copyright holder of the GNU
FDL-licensed documentation.

Using the GNU FDL may make the works more appealing to some other
organizations, however.

I personally recommend multi-licensing the works under the GNU GPL v2,
the Clarified Artistic License, and (if your wish), a version of the GNU

> Even if I don't succeed in this, I will try to negotiate a less
> restrictive license.

Thank you!

> Can I suggest that if something like this comes up in the future, you
> try contacting the original author for assistance?  I would have done
> something sooner, but the problem was brought to my attention only
> this afternoon.

Okay.  In my opinion the Debian package maintainer, or, if he/she is
inactive or indifferent to the issue, the person who noticed the
licensing problem should do this.  The debian-legal list is mainly an
internal resource for the Debian Project, so our developers can come to
the Debian Legal team with their questions about licensing issues.

It's not the debian-legal list's charter to unilaterally approach
copyright holders and attempt to persuade them to change or clarify
their license policies.  If nothing else, to do so is sort of annoying.
:) (We do sometimes send inquiries when we cannot comprehend a license
requirement's meaning, however.)

Thanks again for your efforts in making these works DFSG-free.  We very
much appreciate it.

[1] DFSG stands for the "Debian Free Software Guidelines", a document
    that helps decide whether a work is free software, and thus eligible
    for inclusion in the official Debian distribution, a.k.a. "Debian
    main".  This document is at

G. Branden Robinson                |    Ambition: an overmastering desire
Debian GNU/Linux                   |    to be vilified by enemies while
branden@debian.org                 |    living and ridiculed by friends
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |    when dead.        -- Ambrose Bierce

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