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Re: Creative Commons Attribution license element

On Sat, Jun 12, 2004 at 02:15:37PM -0400, Evan Prodromou wrote:
> One thing that bothers me, though, is how this becomes 'barely
> free'. I realize that it may be *annoying* or *stupid*, but how is it
> *non-free*? I understand how *excessive* conditions on modifications
> may make something non-free, but requiring that a verbatim URL be
> included with the Work doesn't seem excessive to me.

Freedom is a binary test; a work is either free, or it is not. There
is no "partially free" or "semi-free". So "barely free" is "free, but
very close to the line; make this any stronger and it will be

> Again, though, I wonder about the non-free aspects of this. Clumsy and
> inaccurate, yes. Non-free...? Would it be non-free because it's not
> possible for the licensee to comply because the license is vague?

Yes; if the licensee cannot comply with the license, then they have no
right to distribute or modify, and that's what we're really interested
in. Analysing the license is merely a means to the end - it's what you
can do with the work that counts.

Licenses which are vague are particularly nasty, because you can go
with the "obvious" interpretation, and then get sued by the copyright
holder who turns out to have a different one. Certainly we've had some
copyright holders applying strange interpretations to apparently free
licenses before now. To provide reasonable assurance to our users that
everything in main is free, we have to take the most pessimistic
interpretation, and see if that is free.

  .''`.  ** Debian GNU/Linux ** | Andrew Suffield
 : :' :  http://www.debian.org/ |
 `. `'                          |
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