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Re: Debian-approved creative/content license?

On Sun, 11 Mar 2007 21:02:30 -0700 (PDT) Ken Arromdee wrote:

> On Sun, 11 Mar 2007, Francesco Poli wrote:
> > In order to release the audio/video recording in a DFSG-free manner,
> > they should release the source as well, as defined in the GNU GPL
> > v2.
> > 
> > Wonderful!  That is a feature of the GPL, not a bug!
> > Recipients should not be in a position of disadvantage with respect
> > to original authors, or otherwise it's not really Free Software.
> It's a bug.  If the original author puts a video under GPL and doesn't
> release the "source", you can't demand it.

Of course I cannot.  The same holds for programs, and for any other work
of authorship, though.

> He's not bound by the GPL
> since he can't violate the copyright on his own work, so he has no
> obligation to give you anything.

This is *not* a bug in the license.
If you really want to see it as a bug, it's a bug in copyright laws (one
of the maaanyy bugs!).

> So the result is that you can't demand source and can't distribute the
> work either.  That doesn't give free software the least bit of
> benefit.

It makes the work undistributable, when one (other than the copyright
holder(s)) attempts to distribute it in a non-free way.
That's one of the key elements of copyleft.

On the other hand, if the copyright holder does not disclose source,
well, the work is not Free Software in the first place, regardless of
the chosen license (GPL or otherwise).

> The problem with "source" for audio or video files is that the source
> is much larger and much more awkward to distribute than the final
> result.  It's plausible that the author doesn't care what you do with
> his work, but doesn't want to give you these files simply because it's
> a lot of trouble.

That's nothing new: releasing a work in a DFSG-free manner always
requires more care than simply putting it online in an "All Rights
Reserved" way (which, unfortunately, is the default status of a work of
authorship with current copyright laws).

When the uncompressed form is really huge, maybe even the upstream
maintainer thinks it's inconvenient to work with.  In that case, he/she
may prefer to modify the compressed form directly: hence, the source
code is really the compressed form!

> If he then puts his work under GPL, he may not even
> realize that he's given you no permission to redistribute at all.

That's an education problem, not a license issue.
Many people even think that posting stuff to a newsgroup means
dedicating it to the public domain...  It's utterly false, but it's a
common misconception anyway.

 Need to refresh your keyring in a piecewise fashion?
..................................................... Francesco Poli .
 GnuPG key fpr == C979 F34B 27CE 5CD8 DC12  31B5 78F4 279B DD6D FCF4

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