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Re: A GPL-compatible license for photos and music. Which?

On Sun, 23 Apr 2006 13:31:19 GMT NeuRoTiX wrote:

> Hi to all the list.

Hi!  :)

> I'm looking for a license to use to release some photographic and
> music work I made. The license should be GPL-compatible in order to
> let anyone is making - for example - a GPL software to freely use my
> works.

Great!   :-))))
I really appreciate your goal of releasing in a GPL-compatible way!
More people that act similarly are needed, if we want to live in a
better world!

> Also I would like that the access to my works (and derivatives)
> never needs the use of DRM or TC enabled devices/softwares (don't know
> if some license is aware of this).

If you want to prevent others from distributing your works in a manner
that takes away the recipients' freedoms granted by you, then you are
searching for a copyleft license.
With a copyleft license, anyone who redistributes your works must do it
under the same license and must make source available so that further
recipients are granted the same rights that you granted to
If a redistributor chooses to distribute your works through a
DRM-encumbered channel, he/she must also make source available (under
the same license) and source must be modifiable and redistributable by
the recipient.
This way, the end user is effectively granted every relevant freedom and
is not harmed by DRM.

The only (recommended) copyleft license that is GPL-compatible is the
GNU GPL itself. Current version is 2.0:

> I took a look to the Creative Commons but it seems to be a non
> GPL-compatible license.

You're right that Creative Commons are *not* GPL-compatible.
Moreover, they are not suitable choices for releasing DFSG-free works,

> I don't know if I can use the GPL itself because it's not possible to
> identify the source and the Program.

First of all, the term "Program" is defined in the GPLv2 text (see
section 0.) as:

| any program or other work which contains a notice placed by the
| copyright holder saying it may be distributed under the terms of this
| General Public License

Consequently, in your case, the "Program" would be the photographic or
musical work you're releasing.
No problems here.

As far as source is concerned, I've never seen a scenario where "it's
not possible to identify" it.
The GPLv2 (see section 3.) defines source as:

| The source code for a work means the preferred form of the work for
| making modifications to it.

So, think about your photographic work: which form would you start from,
if you wanted to modify it? That is the source!
For instance, if you take photographs with a digital camera that saves
pictures in JPEG format, and want to publish those pictures, your source
is probably in JPEG format. Why? Because, if you wanted to make
modifications to your photographs, you would probably prefer using the
JPEG format as the basis.
Please notice that, if you take a photograph in JPEG format and you
actually modify it by converting to some other form (for instance PNG)
and *then* making modifications to it (after the conversion), then the
source code for the resulting (modified) picture is the other form (PNG
or whatever). Why? Because, if you wanted to make further modifications,
you would probably prefer starting from the latter form.

The source code definition works likewise for your musical work.
Remember to always ask yourself: "If I wanted to modify this thing that
I'm about to release, which form I would prefer starting from?".
That is the source!

I hope this explanations clarify things, rather than confusing the
matter further...   :p
Feel free to ask more specific questions (providing more data), if you
need to. 

> So, which license I can use to release my works in order to let them
> GPL-compatibles?

If you do want it to be a copyleft license, I recommend the GNU GPL v2
license itself.

Otherwise, if you come to the conclusion that you don't want your works
to be copylefted, I recommend the Expat (a.k.a. MIT) license:

> Hope to have posted this question to the right list. As a Debian user
> - being aware of the importance Debian gives to freedom - this is the
> only place I know where ask such a question.

I think this question is not off-topic here.

BTW, are your photographic and musical works already released to the
If they are not, I would suggest waiting until all license issues are
cleared up.
If instead they are already online, could you please point me where I
can find them? I'm curious!

> [I'm reading debian.legal thru Usenet, if you reply, please cc also on
> this email]


    :-(   This Universe is buggy! Where's the Creator's BTS?   ;-)
  Francesco Poli                             GnuPG Key ID = DD6DFCF4
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