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Re: GFDL freedoms

> On Wed, 2005-04-13 at 11:49 +0300, Thibaut VARENE wrote:
> (I've shifted this to -project - it's not really relevant to
> > This is yet another interesting concept of freedom, democracy, and
> > "interest of our users". For the benefit of the *very small part
> > mind-twisted people that absolutely want to distribute GFDL-ed doc
> > no other ways than those that could potentially infringe the
> > we would deprive the immense majority of those moderately sane
> > who just ask for some good doc along their free software, to be
> > to code at pace, distribute their code and doc in regular ways and
> > focus on useful things.
> We want freedom for everyone we provide software to, not just most
> people we provide software to. That /is/ a fundamental part of
> and free software.

This has a name: ideology. Rarely (if not never) can it be actually
implemented in real life.

You're also forgetting that some people your providing software to
aren't allowed to *use* the freedom you give them. But that's another
story, which leads us to the eternal discussion of "should we align
our policy to the least common denominator?", with a forseeable effect
of letting us with nothing to provide to anyone :P

Consensus (as you seem to be a proponent of that idea) is not about
satisfying everyone.

> > I might not grasp the whole concept of it, but I'm having really
> > time figuring out who would *need* to *distribute* *FREE*
> > documentation on encrypted/DRM media, for instance.
> Wikipedia is under the GFDL. It would be nice if someone could
produce a
> portable version of Wikipedia for the Sony PSP, except the media is
> DRM-encumbered and so they probably can't. I think that's an
> restriction.

This problem only occurs under certain interpretations of the text of
the license. As I see it, if I, as a user, download a copy of GFDL'd
material and store it on an encrypted/DRM media for my personal use,
I'd be having a good laugh if somebody told me I'm not allowed to,
since I'm not re-distributing anything.

Else, does it imply that the licensee shall make his local copy
available to everyone, by any mean necessary? What an interesting
security breach to most systems...

And if you come with the "what if somebody wants your copy?" argument,
i'll say "what if i *can't* make it available?". Does the License
actually requires the Licensee that s/he should provide means to
distribute copies if requested (that's a corollary to the previous
paragraph). That'd be bad:

Consider I have downloaded say the gcc manual on my computer, and then
my NIC breaks, and I don't have floppy/CD/DVD, and for any given
reason I can't open the box to extract the HD. Somebody knocks at the
door and says "hey, I want your copy of the GCC manual". Am I
infringing the license? Can he sue me?

What I'm trying to say here is that there will always be a possibility
to find utterly stupid corner cases where the text of the license
couldn't be fully enforceable. I think this is why we have tribunals
and all the clique: because most legal texts need to be read with
circumspection and interpreted *in a given context*. This is not black
or white, we're not living in a Manichean world (or so I hope, else
life would be boring).


As a side note, if one wants to be anal about the legal aspects, I
think that every modern law system has the notion of "being mandated
(as in "having a right") to sue/complain" whatsoever (i don't know how
this is called in english, but YKWIM). Given that, it seems to me that
your PSP example is none of our concerns so far. If Sony wants GFDL
doc to be distributable on PSP, *they* can arrange with FSF. Let's not
add imaginary additional issues to those we already have.

> > Just to remind you of some obvious fact: when trying to comtempt
> > _minorities_, one usually ends up comtempting *no one*, for it is
> > impossible to comtempt *everyone*.
> But we *can* make people happy in this respect. It's possible for
> GFDL to achieve its goal without preventing this use case.

It's also possible for reasonable people to show a little common sense
and not try to make everybody's life a nightmare because they found
that under some crack-smoking reading of the License text, it is
restraining their almighty freedom. Consensus and good will, this is
what it is about.

Thibaut VARENE

PS: i'm not subscribed to d-project

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