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Re: Request for GR: clarifying the license text licensing / freeness issue

On Sun, 2007-04-29 at 09:25 -0700, Ken Arromdee wrote:
> I still don't see the problem.
> First of all, the interpretation we wish to claim consistency under is "all
> bits that are distributed by Debian must follow the DFSG".  Copyright law is
> not distributed by Debian, and needs no exception.

Neither do licenses, which are distributed because of necessity, are
extensions (or applications, if you will) of copyright law, and must be
taken as such, like the SC and DFSG do.

> Second, what will happen in practice is that there will be text that is so
> short and functional that it can't be copyrighted.  Example: package is under
> the GPL.  The FSF then says "you can reuse the text of the GPL as long as
> you change the name".
> There's no infinite regress, because "you can reuse the text of the GPL as
> long as you change the name" isn't copyrightable.

This is just one of many possible cases. Someone might want copyleft
terms for their meta-license, and might end up with a license that is
copyrightable, which then in turn needs a license. We can't anticipate
all cases, but your example is no more likely than the next.

Anyway, we're already far beyond what is "practical" and although this
has been interesting for me because I've had the chance to dig a bit
deeper into these documents and concepts, I feel that we're already
"outside the meeting room, discussing in the corridor, lights are being
shut off, everyone else has gone home and the janitor is rattling with
his keychain and giving us meaningful looks as he's making his final
round before locking up for the weekend..."


Fabian Fagerholm <fabbe@paniq.net>

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