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Re: Licenses for DebConf6 [was: Re: DebConf6: Call For Papers]

[replying to a message that was directed to debian-devel only, but
readding debian-legal in Cc:]

On Tue, 8 Nov 2005 09:38:07 +0100 Andreas Schuldei wrote:

> * Francesco Poli <frx@winstonsmith.info> [2005-11-08 00:28:07]:
> > "The authors have the freedom to pick a DFSG-free license" means
> > that they *may* do so, but are not required to. Am I correct?
> > 
> > IMHO, DebConf paper authors should be *required* to publish in a
> > DFSG-free manner, as a condition for presenting at the conference.
> > 
> > Don't you agree that seeing non-free or even undistributable (no
> > license means "All Rights Reserved", with current laws!) papers at a
> > DebConf is really a shame?
> given your knowledge level of how debconf intents to handle
> things and the way you escalate this issue gives me the idea that
> you mainly want to raise a stink and create unrest.

First of all, it is *not at all* my intention to raise stinks or create
If I gave the impression of being rude, I apologize: I didn't want to.
I am not an English native speaker, hence I may have chosen the wrong
words or style when drafting my message; moreover I may have
misunderstood something when reading the C4P (Call For Papers).

> So please inform yourself properly first.

I visited http://debconf.org/ and failed to find any other relevant
information about paper licensing, apart from the C4P itself.
If you can point me to some URL where I can get first-hand info about
how DebConf organizers plan to handle this kind of things, I would
appreciate it.

> that might include to
> take up the issue in a friendly way with someone who is involved

I think you are involved (!) and I did raise this issue with you
privately (end of last August), but unfortunately the thread died out...
Now your C4P for DebConf6 reminded me of the issue, so I went through it
as carefully as I could searching for any indication on how it was
I found the above-quoted sentence ("The authors have the freedom to pick
a DFSG-free license") and felt it was not clear enough (again I am not
an English native speaker, but many many people are not either).

That is why I asked for clarification and, in case the sentence means
what I'm afraid it does, I suggested a different policy...

As to the friendliness, I tried hard to be as polite and friendly as I
could. Again, if I failed, it's my fault: I apologize.

I really appreciate your efforts to organize the best conference you
can. I really *love* the idea of a conference entirely dedicated to
Debian, to be held in a different place each time.
That's why I consider this issue as an important one: every DebConf is
an event through which we get public attention and can thus spread our
philosophy. The message really works better if we act consistently with
our philosophy, IMHO.

> or trying to submit a proposal, paper or even give a talk
> yourself.

I really doubt I will be able to attend DebConf6, unfortunately.  :-(

> You might also think about the organizers options when a speaker
> surprisingly NOT picks a DFSG free license,

If the rules mandate a DFSG-free license (as I suggest), I think
the only option for the organizers is to not include the
paper/presentation/handout in the conference proceedings and to not
distribute it through the conference website, until the licensing issue
is solved.
Just like a Debian package doesn't enter main, until it meets Policy
requirements (DFSG-freeness being one of them).

> double-licenses his talk in an awkward way

If you mean "dual-licenses", then everything's fine as long as at least
one of the chosen licenses makes the paper/presentation/handout
Otherwise, goto previous case.  ;-)

> or declares before the audience that his
> talk must not be distributed.

In that case the talk cannot be distributed through the conference
website or in the proceedings.
But this holds even if you do not mandate a DFSG-free license.

Actually the C4P already requires some permissions from the authors:

| Debconf requires non-exclusive publication rights to papers,
| presentations, and any additional handouts or audio/visual materials
| used in conjunction with the presentation.

Hence, you already have to plan what to do, when an author does not
fulfill the C4P requirements.
Correct me, if I'm wrong.

> Also consider the legal implications of an intention or promise
> to release a DFSG free talk vs the actual act of releasing the
> work and when that happens in a legally binding way. Then
> consider the character of the CFP as a legaly binding document
> for the licenses of the actual talks of the speakers.

As I said above, the publication of papers/presentations/handouts is
anyway subject to some conditions.
What I suggest is simply adding one further condition.

I hope I clarified what I mean...

    :-(   This Universe is buggy! Where's the Creator's BTS?   ;-)
  Francesco Poli                             GnuPG Key ID = DD6DFCF4
 Key fingerprint = C979 F34B 27CE 5CD8 DC12  31B5 78F4 279B DD6D FCF4

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