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Re: The draft Position statement on the GFDL

Raul Miller <moth@debian.org> writes:

>> > Given that the GPL applies only when a notice is contained in the
>> > work,
>> That is not true.  For example, I have next to me a watercolor
>> painting licensed under the GPL.  The work itself does not contain a
>> notice; rather, there is a tag next to it which gives its title,
>> copyright information, and the fact that it is licenses to all those
>> who receive a copy -- though not all viewers -- under the terms of the
>> GNU GPL, version 2.
> If the work doesn't contain a notice, the GPL doesn't say that it applies.

The referent of "it" is unclear to me.  I think you're saying that if
the work does not contain a notice about the GPL, the work is not
licensed to me under the GPL.  This is malarky.  While it is true that
a prominent notice in the work is often a good way to publish
availability under a public license, it is not necessary.

It is perfectly reasonable for me to give you a work and a separate
license notice.

> Of course for copyright purposes it might be reasonable to say that the
> painting and the notice together are contained in the work.

The notice is eight words long and involved no creativity.  It is a
plain statement of fact.  I do not consider it part of the work.  If
it is considered a copyrightable work, I insist that it is my property
and you may neither copy nor permute it -- but you may state the same
facts in a different way.

>> Similarly, I could hand you a book and tell you that I license to you
>> all my rights in that book under the terms of the GPL, and the GPL
>> would apply.
> And if you lied?
> Or changed your mind?
> Or if I lied?
> How could a judge know that I wasn't lying when I tell him you said it
> was a GPLed work?

The same way he would know you weren't lying when you produced a text
file and said it was from me.  The resolution protocol is outside the
scope of the license.

>> > and given that you must keep that notice intact, ... well you still have
>> > the notice (or notices), which you must leave intact, that's still --
>> > in the fully general sense that some people seem to want to use --
>> > a restriction on modifications to the work.
>> You are incorrect due to overgeneralization.  You must leave a notice
>> iff there was a notice.  But, for a start, that is only a mark on the
>> source code.  It need not impact the compiled program at all.  That
>> is, it must be visible to one inspecting the program, but not to one
>> using the program.  You must also leave the notice on an interactive
>> program intact, but that is also a much weaker limitation -- it does
>> not apply to noninteractive programs, for example.
> Are you trying to argue that a GPLed binary is a work independent from
> the sources it's built from?

Of course not.  The compiled binary is a derivative work of the
sources.  But look at normal noninteractive gpl'd code -- the marks
and notices that the work is under the GPL are in source code
comments, or in a text file adjacent to the binary.

Brian Sniffen                                       bts@alum.mit.edu

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