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Re: The draft Position statement on the GFDL

[Raul: As I assume you're not subscribed to -legal, I'm taking the
liberty of Cc:'ing you.]

On Sun, 02 May 2004, Raul Miller wrote:
> any technical means of controlling copies (such as having the gnu
> "cp" command installed on your system) could be seen as violating
> the GFDL.

Or chmod, for instance. Yes, this is largely agreed to be one of the
most obvious and glaring bugs in this license.
> However, on re-reading the license, I see that the clause in
> question actually reads:
>    "obstruct or control the reading or further copying of the copies
>     you make or distribute"
> In other words, clause isn't about copying, but about "further
> copying". 

It's actually about both, specifically about the ability of you or
others to read or further copy copies that you have made. Clearly on a
computer, a copy that resides upon the hard drive is a copy that you
(or the administrator) has made, so obstructing or controlling the
further copying (or reading) of that copy is dissallowed by the

> I don't see that this is a problem in the context of the DFSG.  If
> it is, could you spell it out more clearly?

It's a violation of DFSG §6 and §7, as it forms a useage restriction
against a class of users (those who use the work digitally) or an
endeavor (those who must have the work encrypted, or controlled.)
[It's also a violation of Freedom 0[2], the ability to use a work for any
purpose, in any purpose.]

> I don't see that this is a problem in the context of the DFSG.  I
> see that the restrictions are different from GPL restrictions, but
> the DFSG does not require all licenses be GPL compatible.

I'm not sure if it's been raised in the context of the DFSG, but as
some people have been mixing and matching GFDLed works with GPLed
works, or seem to want to, this was something that came up in

>    Invariant Sections
> redistribution of derived works are allowed

Redistribution of derived (or modified) works of specific sections are
dissallowed. We have long held that licenses which require that
specific parts of the functional work be unmodifiable are non-free
because they violate DFSG §3.[3]

> these points are not GFDL specific -- and aer more a problem in the
> sense that the DFSG allows the GFDL than anything else.

We, in general, have been viewing the DFSG as a set of guidelines,
rather than a definition (vis. the OSI's OSD). As such, we really
haven't had a problem with interpreting the guidelines broadly instead
of narrowly, and thus capture these licenses which may pass the
letter, but violate the spirit.

1: RMS seems to have noticed this (and we made Eben aware of it)
although he didn't specify what he was going to do about it:
2: http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html
3: We may actually have an interesting aspect with this licence and
it's interaction with droit d' auter.
Three little words. (In decending order of importance.)
 -- hugh macleod http://www.gapingvoid.com/graphics/batch35.php


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