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Re: A possible GFDL compromise

Alright, if none of the GNU Free Warez License folks are going to come
up with freedoms for documentation, I'm going to.  This is heavily
derived from the FSF's Four Freedoms, before they went fundamentalist
and proprietary:

Free text is a matter of the reader's freedom to read, copy,
distribute, study, change, and improve the text.  More precisely, it
refers to five kinds of freedom, for the readers of the text:

* The freedom to read the text, for any purpose. (0)
* The freedom to study how the text is written, and adapt it to your
  needs.  Access to the text in the preferred form for modification is
  a precondition for this. (1)
* The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor. (2)
* The freedom to improve the text, and release your improvements to
  the public, so that the whole community benefits.  Access to the
  preferred form for modification is a precondition for this. (3)
* The freedom to keep your modifications, or even your possession of a
  copy of the text, confidential. (4)

The GFDL fails point 0, due to the "any copies you make" bit about
technical restrictions: I cannot legally download a GFDL text onto
a machine covered by HIPAA, for example, which requires technical
restrictions on information distribution.

The GFDL fails point 1 when Invariant Sections are used.  I wish to
use a paragraph from the GNU Manifesto in my own arguments about the
liberation of antarctic waterfowl, but I am prevented by its license.
I wish to use a paragraph from the GNU GPL2 Preamble in a screed I'm
publishing on the nature of primitive bovine implements, but I am
prevented by its license.  I wish to make an Emacs reference card, but...

The GFDL appears to meet point 2, but fails point 4 -- again due to
the provision regarding technical restrictions on copies you make.

It also fails point 3, as I can't close any of the holes in logic in
"Why Free Software needs Free Documentation" and release them.

So given all of that, let's take the rest of your message in hand:

>>> It is in the best interest of users to receive unstripped version of
>>> manual.
>>It is also in the best interest of users to recieve a manual they
>>can use, modify, and distribute, like they want, provided they
>>prevent no one else from doing so.
> 	They can use, improve and distribute it by all useful means.
> 	Removing of secondary section from manual can't be count nor
> as improvement, nor as adaptation of manual.

Of course it is.  There's no reason for the GNU Manifesto to be
published with a manual on BSD's awk, or for cover texts saying "A GNU
Manual" to be there.  Removing that misleading text would be an

>>> It is also in the best interest of authors.
>>Except the GFDL takes freedom away from authors. What it *adds* is
>>not freedom, but control - the original author of the document is
>>exercising control over all subsequent authors and users.
> 	Removing a section from document does not create autiorship
> for derivative work, btw. Because, "the copyright in a compilation
> or derivative work extends only to the material _contributed_ by the
> author of such work" (USC T17 S103). If you not contribute anything,
> you is not an author, regardless of how much you removed.

You're confused about copyright law.  For example, if I publish an
anthology composed of the first chapter of each of several famous
books, I own the copyright on the compilation, despite having only
removed text.  The original authors, of course, retain their
copyrights on both their whole books and on the chapters I used, and
I'd better have their permission before I try this.

As long as there is creative expression in which sections I choose, I
retain copyright on that expression.


Brian T. Sniffen                                        bts@alum.mit.edu

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