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Re: If not GFDL, then what?

On Sat, Oct 11, 2003 at 12:24:23PM -0400, Mark Pilgrim wrote:
> I am up to speed on the recent discussion of the GFDL, and I have read 
> the various position statements published by members of the Debian 
> community.  Here is my situation:
> 1. I have a book, <http://diveintopython.org/>, which is currently 
> licensed under the GFDL, with no Invariant Sections and no Front- or 
> Back-Cover Texts.
> 2. This book is scheduled to be published on paper by Apress next 
> summer, and they are aware that all their editing work between now and 
> then will also fall under the GFDL.
> 3. There are complete or partial translations of the book in 6 
> languages, all covered by the GFDL.
> 4. Yesterday, a Debian package maintainer (Ross Burton) contacted me 
> wishing to create a Debian package out of the book.  He initially 
> claimed that I would need to relicense it, then later (after talking 
> with other maintainers) that this was unnecessary, but ultimately he was 
> unsure who was right or how long it would stay in Debian main, if indeed 
> it got there at all.
> Here is what I would like to do:
> 1. Give away my book for free.

I am assuming you mean "Make my book free software", this is fine.

> 2. Force translations and all derivative works to remain free.

Ok. You may need to negotiate with the translators over the license
change, though.

> 3. Force my editor's contributions to remain free.

Assuming this is in the contract, this is fine too.

> 4. Allow Apress to publish the book commercially.

DFSG-free licenses cannot prohibit commercial use. If a license
prohibits commercial use, it is by definition non-free.

> 5. Put the book in Debian main.


> What license would you recommend for that?

I would recommend the GNU General Public License, version 2. This
accomplishes your goals, and it is unequivocally free. You would be
compelled to provide source to those who receive a "binary", that is,
anyone who receives a book, DVI, PS (unless you wrote it this way), or
other non-source material, must either (a) receive the source "on a
medium customarily used for software interchange", or (b) be provided
with a "written offer, valid for at least three years, to give any third
party, for a charge no more than your cost of physically performing
source distribution, a complete machine-readable copy of the
corresponding source code ... on a medium customarily used for software

If you provide the source on a website, then most people will just
download it from there, and you probably never have to perform source
distribution. Also, with choice (a) above (which corresponds to 2a in
the GPL), you need not force the user to accept the source. Providing it
along with the binary is fine, if the user wants it, he or she will take
it; if not, then not. You can find more information on a Debian system
in </usr/share/common-licenses/GPL>, which is complete copy of GPL
version 2. If you do not use Debian, you can find a copy at the GNU
Project's web site: <http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html>.

Brian M. Carlson <sandals@crustytoothpaste.ath.cx> 0x560553e7
"Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable. Let us prepare
 to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it
 after all." --Douglas Adams

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