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Re: If DFSG apply to non-software, is GPL*L* incompatible with DFSG?

On Sat, 2004-02-28 at 09:58, Joe Llywelyn Griffith Blakesley wrote:
> Last year, when the controversy over whether the DFSG applies to documentation (in particular GNU-FDL-ed documentation), I meant to mention to someone (but promptly forgot) that the license under which the text of the FSF's licenses (GPL, LGPL, FDL) are licensed is much stricter than even the FDL so cearly violates the DFSG (if they apply to it).
> The GPL &c are allowed to be copied only in full without any modifications.
> If the DFSG do apply to non-software -- has a descision been made on this? -- this would I think effectively stop Debian from distributing any GPLed work on a CD which conforms to the DFSG.

Uh-huh.  This too has been discussed to death, though perhaps not with
an appropriate summary.

Basically, the law requires that the copyright notice remain intact, and
in a prescribed form.  Furthermore, the law states that anyone other
than the copyright holder who makes a copy of a copyrighted work (other
than the poorly defined "fair use" rights and the "backup" exemption),
is guilty of copyright infringement and subject to statutory damages of
up to $150,000 per copy.  Your only defense against this is the license
granted by the copyright holder; if you alter it, it is no longer the
license granted by the copyright holder, and might even be used as
evidence of wilful intent to infringe (=maximum damages).  Because of
this, it is foolish in the extreme not to include the *exact* license
text supplied by the original author with *every* copy.

It is therefore clear that attempting to apply complete DFSG-freedom to
a license is extreme folly; why would you ever want to open yourself up
like that?

It is clear to me that Debian has been proceeding with something roughly
like the following:

The legal documents (copyright notice, license) must be retained
verbatim in order for all of us to avoid being sued into oblivion. 
Proper attribution (i.e., not misrepresenting anything about the
original author) is the only honest thing to do.  Everything else should
be modifiable to suit, or else it isn't truly Free.  

I think it is up to those who would propose that the license texts be
DFSG-free as well to provide a proposed benefit that would be worth
exposing the project to $150,000 in liability per copy made of each
affected package.  

Stephen Ryan <taketwoaspirin@deepthought.dartmouth.edu>
Digital Rights Management is bad for all of us:

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