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Re: Local community license issue



On Sat, 07 Jan 2012 19:35:02 +0200 Victor Nitu wrote:

[...]
> Hello,

Hi Victor,
thanks for taking this kind of licensing issues seriously!

[...]
> Some of the willing contributors asked then: "what will happen to the
> content delivered by us?", a question regarding the license for the new
> content to be released under.

If we are talking about new original material (rather than
re-adaptations or modifications of pre-existing material), it would be
great if you could persuade contributors to license their works in a
DFSG-free manner, adopting a widely used and well understood Free
Software license.

> Is the GNU GPL a decent enough license to be applied to our
> contributors' work?

I think the GNU GPL is a perfectly fine license for documentation,
tutorials, guides, manuals and the like.
I personally would recommend the GNU GPL v2 (with or without the "or
later" mechanism, depending on what the authors think about the GNU GPL
v3 and on how much they trust the FSF to always publish good licenses
in the future).

Another license that can be recommended is the Expat/MIT license:
http://www.jclark.com/xml/copying.txt
This is a simple permissive non-copyleft license that meets the DFSG
and is GPL-compatible.
It is especially appropriate for authors who dislike copyleft licenses,
and prefer being more permissive.

> Or any CC variant?

No, please!
CC licenses are controversial: FTP-masters currently accept CC-by-v3.0
and CC-by-sa-v3.0 as DFSG-free, but I personally think that they are
wrong in doing so.
I am convinced that CC licenses fail to meet the DFSG.

See
http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2010/01/msg00084.html
and, if you want to read my own analyses,
http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2007/07/msg00124.html
http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2007/03/msg00105.html

> What shall I answer to their
> question, as a community website co-founder?

As I said above, I think you should try to persuade contributors to
license their works in a DFSG-free and GPL-compatible way.
*Especially* if some of these works are intended to be submitted for
inclusion in Debian!

> 
> I am subscribed to this list, so no need to cc me, so please help me out
> of this problem.
> Since this was raised, I admit I haven't looked too deep in the d.o main
> site, unfortunately I was lacking the time needed for this.

Please do *not* follow the example of the official Debian web site,
which is unfortunately licensed in a non-free manner:
http://bugs.debian.org/238245
As you can see, this issue is still unfixed, so please let's *not*
propagate it elsewhere!

> 
> FYI, the "work" consists mostly of tutorials (using, packaging, patching
> a.o.), guides, documentation, translations (some of them to be submitted
> to their respective package in Debian via BTS), some scripts and other
> various tools and resources.

Translations should be licensed under the same terms of the original
work. Whenever the original work is licensed under the terms of a
copyleft license, they also *must* be licensed under the same terms (or
anyway under compatible terms).

All the other mentioned types of works should be licensed in a DFSG-free
manner: see my recommendations above.


I hope this helps.
Bye, and thanks for getting in touch with us.


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