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Re: GPL for documentation ?

On Thu, 10 Mar 2005, Gervase Markham wrote:
> Don Armstrong wrote:
> >What about it? If the combination in question of the GPLed work and
> >your work is a derived work, then the GPL covers the work as a whole.
> So is a WP a derived work of a dictionary? IMO, it's much harder to
> make this sort of judgement when you're mixing code and non-code.

It's hard to make this judgement no matter what you're dealing with.
There's nothing magical about non-programmatic langagues that makes
copyright law not apply.

> How does the distinction between the GPL and the LGPL apply to a
> dictionary? Or are the two licences the same when you are talking
> about something that can't in any meaningful sense be "linked"?

We're (or I am, at least) talking specifically about the GNU GPL here,
not the LGPL.

> >If there really is a source for confusion, then make an addendum to
> >the license file explaining how the author views the GPL applying to
> >the work.
> I seem to remember a very recent thread on d-l saying that this sort
> of thing was a pain because it meant everyone's licence was
> different.

No, it means the copyright holder's interpretation of the license was
different. Furthermore, it's always possible to grant specific
exceptions for works that are actually GPLed when you want to allow
specific things that may be construed as derived works, but the
copyright holder does not wish to apply the GPL to. [See, for example,
the license governing gcc.]

> >Also, if you must discourage people from using a license, please
> >point out specific problems with the license that preclude its
> >application to a specific class of work.
> Well, exhibit A in the "GPL's not good for documentation" discussion
> is the very existence of the GFDL, its freeness or otherwise
> notwithstanding. This means that at least one and possibly more
> smart free software legal minds took a long hard look at the
> GPL/documentation issue and decided to put a bunch of work into a
> more appropriate licence.

Actually, the existence of the GFDL stems (almost completely) from the
influence of one person: RMS. Later versions of it (if any) will
probably have more input from other people. [The primary confounding
force in this discussion is "author's rights", but as those only apply
in certain jurisdictions, that's neither here nor there.]

Don Armstrong

"I was thinking seven figures," he said, "but I would have taken a
hundred grand. I'm not a greedy person." [All for a moldy bottle of
 -- Sammi Hadzovic [in Andy Newman's 2003/02/14 NYT article.]

http://www.donarmstrong.com              http://rzlab.ucr.edu

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