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Re: Choosing a License: GNU APL? AFL 3.0?

Sean, please follow the Debian mailing list guidelines
<URL:http://www.debian.org/MailingLists/#codeofconduct>; in
particular, please don't send personal copies of messages also sent to
the list unless they're explicitly requested.

"Sean B. Palmer" <sean@miscoranda.com> writes:

> On Dec 30, 2007 10:58 AM, Ben Finney wrote:
> > I'm not sure I take your meaning in "copyright notices" being
> > "protected". Copyright law protects any creative work (with
> > jurisdiction-specific exceptions), not the legal notice on that
> > work.
> The AFL 3.0, for example [...]
> And now you can make modifications to the file and redistribute it,
> and you don't have to include a copy of the Academic Free License
> anywhere. But you can never strip the copyright line or the notice
> line from the file.

I'm not convinced that's true. Copyright law, in my understanding,
requires that the recipient must have explicit license terms, or they
have no license by default.

It's not necessary to *include* the license terms when redistributing,
though that's surely a no-brainer way to make them explicit.

> Now say that I used Modified BSD instead. [...]
> There are now two differences:
> * Whenever you redistribute the file, you have to include a copy of
> the Modified BSD License, either in the file itself or alongside it.

This would appear to be *effectively* true for any license (whether
for a free or non-free work) that allows redistribution. Even if the
license terms don't state the requirement, my understanding is that
the effect of copyright law makes it mandatory to make license terms
explicit to the recipient of such a work in order to have any license
in the work.

> I think of licenses as mandating politeness and good academic
> behaviour. They also let you know what the original author thinks of
> as being polite :-)

This may not be a good analogy to work from. There are a great many
license terms that are anything but "politeness and academic
behaviour"; I know many people who agree openly that the license terms
under which they distribute their software is greatly divergent from
their norm of politeness. (They resolve that disconnect by introducing
non-sequiturs about being compensated for their work, but that's not a
discussion that belongs in this thread.)

Instead, a better model would be to think of licenses as grants of
largesse from a monopoly holder, under whatever terms they choose.

 \         "I think a good gift for the President would be a chocolate |
  `\   revolver. And since he's so busy, you'd probably have to run up |
_o__)           to him real quick and hand it to him."  -- Jack Handey |
Ben Finney

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