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Re: Creative Commons Attribution license element

Evan Prodromou wrote:

>>>>>> "AS" == Andrew Suffield <asuffield@debian.org> writes:
>     Me> One thing that bothers me, though, is how this becomes 'barely
>     Me> free'.
>     AS> Freedom is a binary test; a work is either free, or it is
>     AS> not. There is no "partially free" or "semi-free". So "barely
>     AS> free" is "free, but very close to the line; make this any
>     AS> stronger and it will be non-free".
> I understood that part. The part I don't understand is, what line does
> the URL requirement get close to? What is the line between acceptable
> modification restrictions and unacceptable ones?
> I'll try to present one dimension of modification restrictions, being
> what type of content those restrictions require to remain in the
> modified version:
>   1. No restrictions on modifications whatsoever.
>   2. Restrictions to make sure that downstream users get the following
>      4 things: copyright notices, license notification, changelogs,
>      warranty disclaimers.

If accurate for the derived work, only. :-)

>   3. Restrictions to make sure that downstream users get general
>      information about the work (metadata), including the above 4
>      things, but maybe perhaps some others. Examples: original author
>      name, original work title, original metadata URL, bug-reporting
>      site or address, main download site URL.

If accurate for the derived work, only. :-)

>   4. Restrictions that "protect" certain parts of the work itself
>      (e.g., invariant sections).
>   5. Restrictions that prevent any modification of the work
>      whatsoever.
> I'd posit that our line for free-vs.-non-free is between 3 and 4 here.

If accurate for the derived work, only. :-)

You might look at the Apache License 2.0 for the language about NOTICES
which was put in specifically to avoid requiring the presence of inaccurate
and irrelevant notices.

>     Me> Would it be non-free because it's not possible for the licensee
>     Me> to comply because the license is vague?
>     AS> Licenses which are vague are particularly nasty, because you
>     AS> can go with the "obvious" interpretation, and then get sued by
>     AS> the copyright holder who turns out to have a different
>     AS> one. Certainly we've had some copyright holders applying
>     AS> strange interpretations to apparently free licenses before
>     AS> now. To provide reasonable assurance to our users that
>     AS> everything in main is free, we have to take the most
>     AS> pessimistic interpretation, and see if that is free.
> Cool. So, if I can redirect back to the Attribution license, we have a
> worst-case interpretation with the Attribution license, where the
> author's credits have to be listed in _every_ place other credits are
> given, even if those places are possibly inconvenient (file name, work
> title).

Don't forget prominence.  They have to be listed just as prominently as any
other credits, in those places, as well.  The only safe way, given the
licence vaguesness, is to list all credits with precisely equal prominence,
regardless of the contributions of the different people.

> Even though it's vague (could mean "some" places, could mean 
> "all" places), our New Math set theory teaches us that if we give
> credit in all places, we will have also have given credit in some
> places. So, by giving credit in _all_ places, we can comply.
> Now, given the "all places" idea: is that non-free? It may suck, but
> is it non-free?

Yes, because it a requirement which causes a prohibitive burden on the
creator of derivative works.  It actually prevents giving appropriate
credit; it may forbid reasonable titles for the work; etc.

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

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