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Re: GPL-compatible, copyleft documentation license

* Nathanael Nerode:

>> Oh, come on.  We still can declare a document non-free if an author
>> tries to exercise his rights in an unacceptable way.
> This is not a viable interpretation.  A freely licensed work must
> give a reasonable guarantee that the work will *remain* freely
> licensed.  A work which becomes non-free upon the whim of a
> copyright holder was never free.

We do the same thing with respect to patents.  We ignore them until
Debian *itself* is targeted (even if a main Debian sponsor is subject
to an infringement suit, we continue to distribute the work which
allegedly is infringing).

Following your reasoning, our lack of diligence with resepect to
patents takes away freedom from our users.  This doesn't seem to be
the case, though.

>> The clause explicitly does not apply to previously distributed
>> copies which are impractical to modify, so Debian would be on the
>> safe side here.

> How?  As MJ said, it's clearly "practical" to remove the author's
> name in places where it would nevertheless be a grievous
> restriction.

So you suggest that if someone approaches Debian and asks his name to
be removed, Debian would ignore this request even if it can be
honored, practically speaking?

I think this clause mainly deals with something Debian does anyway, as
a mrere courtesy.

>> BTW, in Germany, the existence of the clause implies that the author's
>> position is _weakened_ to some degree because she already has such a
>> right, and there's no explicit limit of practicality.
> I find this hard to believe; I suspect you are confused.

> Assume that the author has granted unlimited permission to make derived
> works.  (Otherwise, obviously, the author can make whatever demands he
> wants.)  Please point me to the provision in German law which states that
> *despite* granting such permission, the author has the right to have all
> references to him, of any sort whatsoever, expunged from any derived work.

Privacy laws.  Okay, this one is not fair. 8-)

We have codified moral rights.  Among these rights is the right to be
named as an author (at the author's discretion).  While I doubt that
it is possible to waive this right in a contract (I'd have to check
this), it weakens the author's position if he promises to exercise it
only in certain limits.

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