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Re: Proposed plan (and license) for the webpage relicensing

On Wed, 19 Apr 2006 13:12:16 +0200 Javier Fernández-Sanguino Peña wrote:

> Hi everyone,
> I was reviewing the status of #238245 ("Debian web site is licensed
> under the OPL which is not considered DFSG-free") and see that there
> have been no actions since October last year and no discussion at
> debian-www.

Thanks for working on this issue, that really deserves a clear solution.

> In summary: The web pages license content should be changed from the
> OPL (non DFSG-free) to some other license (DFSG-free). As it is, the
> current content is not GPL compatible (so it cannot be reused, for
> example, in documentation produced by the DDP project).


> So, Here's the plan I propose:
> a) a proper license should be decided for the website.


>    I suggest using a BSD-style license. The attached license is such a
>    license. It is  based on the FreeBSD documentation license [3] and
>    explicitely mentions translations.  In our case (the website) the
>    'source code' is the wml, but I leave references to other sources
>    (SGML, XML) that might apply to other documentation that the
>    website might hold.

I do *not* think that the license you are proposing is a good one.

It's not technology-neutral: what if I convert pages from WML to, say,
XHTML and go on modifying XHTML by hand? The new source form for the
derived work is XHTML, but the license does not consider it as

Clause 1 restricts where the license text must be retained: as the first
lines. What if I convert pages from WML to another format where the
first lines are reserved for some other use? It seems I cannot legally
do so!

The license does not seem to be GPLv2-compatible, as clause 3 is a weak
copyleft constraint: it seems that I cannot combine a page under this
license with a GPLv2-licensed document in a single derivative work,
since the latter should be released as a whole under the "Debian
Documentation License", but it cannot be, because the GPL'd part has
restrictions that are not present in the "Debian Documentation License"
and I cannot waive restrictions on parts I'm not the copyright holder

If you are going to propose a BSD-style license, I would strongly
recommend the (unmodified) 2-clause BSD license:

> b) old contributors to the web site (i.e. all that have had CVS access
> to the
>    WWW CVS are for the past 10 years) should be contacted and ask to 
>    agree to this license change.


> c) a note should be added to the Debian site (as a News item?)
> describing the
>    license change (and the reasons for the change) and giving a 6
>    month period for comments.

What's the use of this News item?
Aren't we already commenting on your proposed plan?

> d) new contributors during that period should be asked to agree to the
>    license change


>    and to transfer (c) to SPI (GPG/PGP signed e-mail
>    would be a requisite for contributing, a paper trail would be even
>    best)

I disagree. There's no need to transfer copyrights, as long as licenses
are DFSG-free.
I personally would *not* be willing to transfer any copyright to SPI. 
Moreover copyright transfers require slow and boring paperwork.

> e) from here on access to the CVS of the website should be given after
>    clearly stating (and getting and agreement) that any and all
>    contributions to the CVS, unless specified otherwise with clear (c)
>    statements in the code, will be (c) SPI and will be considered
>    "work under contract" 

I don't think you can claim it's work under contract, unless there
actually *is* a contract involved!
Voluntary contributions are not "work under contract", AFAICT.

> Let's please solve this once and for all.

Yes, please!

    :-(   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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