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Re: Unidentified subject!

    For example, I might use a manual by tearing it into pieces and using
    the individual pages as confetti for a parade.  But I cannot copy
    GFDL'd manuals and then do this.  

I congratulate you on your imagination--it never occurred to me to
think about this as a use of a manual.

As it happens, you are free to do that, because copyright does not
cover tearing up a manual.  You don't need a license to give you
permission to do that.

    And then, in between the silly ones and the reasonable ones, there are
    a whole lot more, with some pretty darn ambiguous cases.

Yes, there are gray areas where it is hard to decide.  I had to think
for months about whether the TeX license qualified as free, since it
makes the whole of the original TeX source code invariant.  And I had
to think for weeks about a LaTeX license, that required changing the
name of any file that you modify.  I eventually concluded that LaTeX
was free despite this requirement, but only because it has a remapping
feature that lets you say "Use file myfoo.sty when the document asks
for foo.sty".

    My previous question is still the right one, I think.  How would you
    go about explaining why "send $1 to the author for permission to make
    changes to this program" is not a mere "requirement", but actually
    kills freedom?

That question is straightforward: if you have to pay for permission to
do something, you do not have permission to do it.

    Debian has a way of answering that question: but our way, which
    involves the DFSG, would say that "send $1 to the author for
    permission to make changes" is wrong for the same reasons that "send
    $1 to the author for permission to make copies", and is wrong for the
    same reason that we think that invariant sections are wrong.

The DFSG doesn't say anything about invariant sections; you're
assuming a very strict interpretation.  You're also assuming that the
DFSG should be applied to manuals as well as software, and that the
interpretation should be the same.

I'm arguing for a less strict interpretation of the DFSG.

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