Sorry, it appears I stuffed up one of the email addresses, retry:
>>>>> "Brian" == Brian May <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes:
Brian> Hello, I have CCed this to debian-legal, as these are the
Brian> people who deal with legal issues in Debian.
Brian> I would refrain making any decisions until other
Brian> debian-legal people get a chance to respond, and point out
Brian> all the errors I have made. ;-)
Brian> Background: See bug <URL:http://bugs.debian.org.au/239163>.
>>>>> "Mark" == Mark Constable <email@example.com> writes:
Mark> Hi Brian, perhaps I should simply ask you directly for some
Mark> guidance as how best to license and package FreePats. If you
Mark> have a suggestion as the the most appropriate license and
Mark> anything I can do to facilitate them getting into Debian
Mark> then I'm more than happy to do whatever I can.
Brian> Thank you. I would greatly appreciate it if FreePats could
Brian> be included in Debian.
Mark> I've been on holidays for the last month and only just
Mark> noticed your posting on the Wiki... a recent timidity-talk
Mark> posting (re)alerted me to the need to sort this out.
Brian> News travels fast, I posted to the above bug report
Brian> yesterday. ;-).
Brian> The best license depends on your
Brian> requirements. Unfortunately, this type of discussions can
Brian> often end up in heated arguments, even when only
Brian> considering DFSG (Debian) compatible licenses. To provide
Brian> an unbiased opinion, first some issues regarding the file
Brian> format may need clarification:
Brian> Some background (my understanding only; I am very new to
Brian> the world of MIDI and soundfonts), I am sure Mark will
Brian> correct any mistakes:
Brian> Q: What are FreePats? A: A set of SoundFont files that are
Brian> intended to be freely distributed.
Brian> Q: What is a soundfont file? A: A "image" that can be used
Brian> to reconstruct notes made by musical instruments? ie. a
Brian> font file for music instead of writing. So, I would imagine
Brian> anything that applies to standard font files also applies
Brian> Q: How are soundfont files created? A: I don't know. I
Brian> suspect though, like a *.wav file, is no "source code" to
Brian> generate a FreePat file? This perhaps makes it different
Brian> from programs already in Debian.
Brian> If so, then the soundfont file a bit like a shared and/or
Brian> static library that can be used to generate music (eg. a
Brian> midi file contains a reference to it and a wav file embeds
Brian> it) to make a full tune.
Brian> My unbiased 3 paragraph summary of DFSG licenses:
Brian> The two major licenses that comply with the DFSG
Brian> (Debian-Free-Software-Guidelines) seem to be the BSD style
Brian> license and the GPL style license.
Brian> The BSD style license generally are the most unrestrictive
Brian> license around, eg. you can you BSD licensed files in
Brian> proprietary projects. I believe the majority of the X fonts
Brian> are BSD licensed.
Brian> The GPL style license, as applied to this case, says if you
Brian> make modifications or make "derivative works" of it, then
Brian> the result must be licensed under the GPL (or similar
Brian> license). I don't know if a wav file created from a FreePat
Brian> file would be considered a "derivative work" or not. The
Brian> GPL also says if you distribute it, then you must also
Brian> distribute source code to (as appropriate to the file
Brian> format). I believe the GS fonts are GPL.
Brian> My biased opinions and questions for debian-legal:
Brian> There are other issues with the GPL that might effect
Brian> soundfont files, not sure. For instance, would the
Brian> soundfont file be considered "source code" when making a
Brian> *.wav file? What if the *.wav file has since been edited in
Brian> a wav editor and cannot be automatically recreated? For
Brian> these reasons, I don't think it should be a required that
Brian> music files be GPL.
Brian> Also just like I expect to be able to type and print a
Brian> document up in a word processor, and do anything I want
Brian> with that document, regardless of fonts used. In fact, this
Brian> might be dodgy, but as far as I am concerned I
Brian> automatically get exclusive copyright of such a document,
Brian> as I consider it my own work. I would hope the same applies
Brian> with music generated with FreePat files.
Brian> Personally, my opinion (depending on the above) would be to
Brian> use the GPL, so any modifications to the fonts themselves
Brian> will remain GPL, but allow an exception (if required) so
Brian> music created with the soundfont isn't restricted. If the
Brian> GPL doesn't do this, maybe the LGPL will do so?
Brian> This is all my uninformed opinion, now to pass it on to
Brian> Opinions anyone?
Brian May <firstname.lastname@example.org>