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Re: Free Art License

On Thu, 4 May 2006 02:09:51 -0400 Nathanael Nerode wrote:

> Francesco Poli wrote:
> > On Mon, 1 May 2006 15:18:32 -0400 Nathanael Nerode wrote:
> > > On Thu, 27 Apr 2006 17:54:53 +1000 Andrew Donnellan wrote:
> > > > There is a license called the Free Art license, I don't know if
> > > > that is DFSG-free.
> > >
> > > I believe that it is.
> >
> > If you do, could you please reply to my analysis with an actual
> > rebuttal?
> OK.
> This license *has* to be read in the context of physical artwork.  For
> an  all-digital artwork, it has lots of redundant, unnecessary
> clauses.

Maybe, but I don't think it's clearly stated...
At least, the FSF does not mention this caveat in its license list:

Anyway, let's assume it's for physical works of authorship only (if this
is true, we are quickly going off-topic here, since Debian users cannot
aptitude install physical objects...).

> Suppose the Mona Lisa were licensed under this license; I will give
> examples  using it as I go through your comments.

Oh my goodness... We are lucky that copyright did not exist when
Leonardo Da Vinci was alive!  ;-)

> You wrote earlier:
> > > - specify to the recipient where he will be able to access the
> > > originals (original and subsequent).
> >
> > I'm a little concerned that this could mean that, in order to
> > distribute a work under this license, I forever required to keep
> > updated information on where recipients can access every previous
> > version.
> Not quite.  Remember what "originals" means in the context of this
> license: it  means a single copy, normally of a physical artwork.
> It *does* mean you would be forever required to keep updated
> information on  where recipients can access the original artwork.
> (For the Mona Lisa, the answer would be The Louvre.)

For a less famous work it would be harder to tell!

> The freeness of this is arguable.  I think it's supposed to be
> primarily a  form of attribution or credit, and it doesn't seem
> unreasonable to me.

It would be if it stated something along the lines of:

| - specify to the recipient where *you were* able to access the
| originals (original and subsequent).

It instead forces me to track down any movement of the original work.

> However, it may be overbroad.  Convince me. 
> Perhaps keeping track of the  movements of the Mona Lisa as it's sold
> to different museums *is*  unreasonable.

That is exactly what I'm concerned of: since it says "specify to the
recipient where *he will be* able to access the originals", it's the
future it's talking about.
It could even be unsatisfiable, strictly speaking, because I cannot
specify *today* where the recipient will be able to access the originals
*in the future*.
But even ignoring that, it seems that I'm at least required to update
this datum everytime I distribute, interpret or represent the work...
I'm not a detective, how can I be forced to keep track of where every
original work I want to distribute (a copy of) goes?

> > What if the original changes, say, URL? Have I to keep track of
> > where it goes?
> This is literally impossible.  The original is a single copy, not a
> work.  If  it changes URL, you are most likely looking at a different
> copy.  :-)

OK, forget about the URL:  s/URL/museum/

> > What if the original vanishes?
> Now, *this* is a problem.  Since the original is a single copy, the
> vanishing  of that copy is a big issue.  I believe, however, that "The
> original has been  destroyed; nobody at all can access it anywhere"
> should be sufficient to  satisfy this clause.  This should be drafted
> better to clarify this issue.   This is a freeness issue indeed, if
> such a clause is not sufficient.

I'm not sure that such a statement would be considered enough to go away
with the destroyed original case...
So, indeed, I think this is another problem.

> This is, again, clearly intended for physical artwork.  I'm not
> entirely sure  *how* to apply it to artwork which originated in
> digital form.
> I believe the only logical interpretation of the license is that an 
> all-digital work might have *no* "original" at all in the sense of the
> license.   Recall the definition of "The Original":
> > - The Original (the work's source or resource) :
> > A dated example of the work, of its definition, of its partition or
> > of its program which the originator provides as the reference for
> > all future updatings, interpretations, copies or reproductions.

I think it can make sense for non-material works too.

> (Incidentally, I have no idea what "of its partition" means here. 
> "Its  program" seems designed to refer to dance or theatre works.)

I think it's talking about a musical score (in italian: "partitura";
probably similar in french, I don't know).

> > Have I to keep a copy of the original and 
> > make it available, in order to be able to distribute a subsequent
> > work?
> Stop thinking about copies.  :-)  Copies are no good regarding the
> "original".


> > >
> > > All the elements of this work of art must remain free, which is
> > > why you are not allowed to integrate the originals (originals and
> > > subsequents) into another work which would not be subject to this
> > > license.
> >
> > This does not seem to be clearly drafted, IMHO.
> This is clearly drafted, but you have to remember that "originals"
> refer to  specific physical instances.  You may not integrate the Mona
> Lisa into  another work which is not subject to this license.  You can
> do whatever you  like with *copies* of the Mona Lisa; that's not what
> this clause is about,  it's about the originals.


> The point to remember about this license is that it is specifically
> designed  for physical works which have a unique physical original; as
> long as you  remember that when reading the word "original", it makes
> sense.  If you don't  notice that, the license won't make any sense.
> It is still somewhat fuzzily written,


> but I think none of the points
> are  actually freeness issues.

I think we spotted some DFSG-freeness issues.
Moreover you are pretty sure that this license is not really suitable
for non-material works of authorship, and that is another issues (taking
into account that the license was originally mentioned in a thread about
gnome-theme licensing!).

    :-(   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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