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Debian official web site is still non-free



Hello!

I see there's (at last) some activity on bug #388141 [1].
I am happy to see that, but I personally think it's going in a slightly
wrong direction...  :-(

First of all, a brief summary of bug #238245 [2] and of bug #388141 [1]
(which started as a clone of #238245 [2]), for debian-legal readers.
Anyone who is interested in all the details is invited to (re-)read the
complete (long) bug logs.

[1] http://bugs.debian.org/388141
[2] http://bugs.debian.org/238245

The issue is two-fold: firstly, the official Debian web site is
licensed [3] under the terms of the OPL [4] and therefore fails to
comply with the DFSG. Secondly, the web site claims [3] to be
copyrighted by SPI, while it's not [5].

[3] http://www.debian.org/license
[4] http://bugs.debian.org/238245#40
[5] http://bugs.debian.org/238245#58

End of summary.

Recent discussions on bug #388141 [1] (starting at message #206),
include a plan to ask for copyright assignments to SPI from all future
and (then) past contributors.
I think this is the wrong approach.

The Debian Project does *not* ask for copyright transfers for anything,
AFAICT. Not even for the packaging.
Why should a contributor trust SPI to always take the Right™ licensing
decisions in the future for his/her contributions?

Moreover, copyright assignment is much more difficult from a legal
standpoint, may require dead-tree paperwork and may be problematic for
some contributors.
I acknowledge that the current plan includes the possibility of
exceptions for those not willing to assign their copyright, but, then,
why asking at all?
A way of handling these cases must be devised anyway.
That way is asking for re-licensing consent.
Let's do so for everybody!


I personally think the appropriate plan to address the issue is
therefore doing the following actions (all of them, in the specified
order!):

 (A) Decide a set of licenses for the Debian web site.
     A default for GNU GPL v2, with the Expat/MIT being allowed
     (for any contributor who wants to use a more permissive license)
     seems to be the most reasonable proposal [6]

[6] http://bugs.debian.org/388141#199
 
 (B) Track down all contributors to the web site, contact them and ask
     them to agree to the re-licensing of their past contributions
     (under the GNU GPL v2 or, if they so wish, under the Expat/MIT).
     Please note that MJ Ray [7] and Bradley M. Kuhn [8] have offered
     help with this: I hope they are still willing to get involved...

[7] http://bugs.debian.org/238245#138
[8] http://bugs.debian.org/238245#197

 (C) Change the copyright notice for the web pages, to read
     "Copyright (c) 1997-<present> by Debian WWW authors"
     and so that it says the license is GNU GPL v2, except
     where noted that the license is Expat
     The proposed wml tags may be used to keep track of copyright
     holders of the various web pages

 (D) Future contributions will be accepted only if licensed under
     terms compatible with one of the allowed licenses


I hope this plan makes sense to you, and may help in finally solving
this issue.
Thanks a lot for your time and for taking care of this bug.


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