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draft GFDL position statement?

Partly in response to RMS' recent comment (about Debian not having a
position on the GFDL) I've taken a stab at putting together a sort of
"position statement" on the GFDL for debian-legal.  Debian proper may
not yet have a position, but I think it's fair to say that
debian-legal does, at least.  I haven't tried to reproduce the
arguments here[1], this just lists the things that make the GFDL

[1] See Nathanael Nerode's "Why You Shouldn't Use the GNU FDL" at
http://home.twcny.rr.com/nerode/neroden/fdl.html if you're interested
in that.  Or read the archives.  :)

--- *DRAFT*  This is only a draft.  *DRAFT* ---

Problems with the GFDL

After more than two years of discussion debian-legal has decided that
the GFDL v1.2 does not meet the DFSG.  We are hopeful that the issues
discussed here can eventually be resolved, but we are forced to
conclude that, at least for the moment, a work under the GFDL v1.2 is
not free software.

There problems with the GFDL fall under three headings.  They are:

A. The "DRM" restriction

In section 2 the GFDL states:

     You may not use technical measures to obstruct or control the
     reading or further copying of the copies you make or distribute.

This goes beyond the traditional source requirement in copyleft
licenses in an important way: according to the GFDL *no* copy may ever
be subject to "technical measures to obstruct or control" reading and
copying.  This means that:

I.  It is not limited to the act of distribution (i.e., it applies to
    private copies as well).

II. It rules out the possibility that a version be distributed on some
    form of DRM media (for technical reasons, perhaps), even while
    providing source (i.e., a transparent copy) in an unencumbered way
    at the same time.

B. Transparent and Opaque copies

Under certain circumstances the document may not have a transparent
version (for example, after being modified with a proprietary word
processor).  This would make it impossible to meet the requirements of
section 3 ("Copying in quantity") of the GFDL.

C. Invariant Sections

Various parts of a work under the GFDL can be both unmodifiable and
unremovable.  These parts include:

* Invariant Sections

* Cover Texts

* Acknowledgements

* Dedications

We believe that certain restrictions on modification do pass the DFSG.
Such restrictions might include a requirement that the name be changed
from the original when it is modified, or that a disclaimer be added
(e.g., "This document does not necessarily represent the opinion of
Mr. Foo"), or even that a changelog be kept.  But in this case both
the fact that these sections are entirely unmodifiable and that they
are unremovable violate the DFSG.

--- *DRAFT*  This is only a draft.  *DRAFT* ---

Since IANADD, I wrote it in hopes that it might be useful -- perhaps
it could be posted on the web, or used as the basis for a
semi-official message to the FSF, or whatever.  If people have any
suggestions or changes they think should be made, I'd be happy to keep
an up-to-date version for a while.  Other than that, feel free to use
it however you like.

Can anyone suggest better wording anywhere?  Are there any other
issues we should include?  Am I off-base in thinking this stuff is
pretty established on debian-legal?

The order is not accidental -- I've intentionally started with what I
suspect will be the easiest stuff to resolve.

Jeremy Hankins <nowan@nowan.org>
PGP fingerprint: 748F 4D16 538E 75D6 8333  9E10 D212 B5ED 37D0 0A03

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