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Re: The draft Position statement on the GFDL

Raul Miller wrote:
> On Tue, May 11, 2004 at 10:26:17AM -0700, Josh Triplett wrote:
>>Raul Miller wrote:
>>>I think I understand what you mean, but also don't see that this is a
>>>DFSG issue.  There's some basis for this in the social contract, but
>>>probably not as a hard and fast rule.
>>The DFSG explicitly requires the legal right to make derived works, even
>>if making such works is not a good idea for technical reasons.  "I think
>>it would be better to copy the ideas and not the content" is a technical
>>issue, but "it should still be possible to copy the content" is a legal
> I agree that the DFSG requires that it be possible to make and
> distribute some derived works based on the original.

The DFSG requires that it be possible to make and distribute _all_
derived works based on the original, as long as such works can be
distributed under the terms of the original license (ignoring the patch
clause DFSG4 for the moment).  With GPLed works, for example, we have
the right to make any derived work we want, as long as it is under the
GPL, so the GPL satisfies DFSG3.

>>>>Suppose busybox didn't exist, and you were writing it.  For your
>>>>documentation, you take the coreutils manual and modify it to document
>>>>your commands, with information about what #defines must be enabled for
>>>>each option to be available.  Suppose also that the coreutils manual had
>>>>the standard GNU Cover Texts and a couple of Invariant Sections.
>>>Also, once I'd written busybox, I couldn't really use the gnu
>>>documentation excerpts unchanged, because I'd have made many
>>>simplifications to how things work.
>>Of course, which is why you would want to modify that documentation.
> No, I would not.
> I'd want to examine it to determine the kernel interfaces it relies on
> and write something else which uses those same interfaces.
> The key issue, in this example, is the quality of information provided
> for this task.

But again, that is a technical concern, not a legal one.  Legally, you
should have the right to make such a derived work of the documentation.

- Josh Triplett

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