Michael Poole wrote:
Invariant sections are perfect example of a restriction that enhances
the rights of the author (copyright holder) at the expense of the end
user, but does so in a way that promotes sharing of information as
opposed to "hoarding."
This is a rather curious contention. How do invariant sections (by
themselves) promote sharing of information?
By protecting the authors' rights, same as the GPL. You must have
missed by main point.
Proprietary licenses protect the authors' rights even more. Never
publishing the work, and therefore never subjecting it to copyright
law, also protects the authors' rights. Neither of those help freedom
or the sharing of information. Again I ask: How do invariant sections
(by themselves) promote sharing of information?
The FSF largely uses them
to preach free software, but others might use them to preach a
disagreeable agenda, or one that is illegal to promote in certain
jurisdictions. Users in those jurisdictions would be limited in how
they can use or distribute the work, simply because the author
injected a diatribe that does not pertain to the main body of the
You can't seriously be proposing that making a license safe for random
tyrannies that may randomly censor speech, somehow makes a license
more "free." What kind freedom is that? Freedom to be a quisling?
I was thinking of countries like Australia (at least the state of
Victoria), Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Are those random
tyrannies? Should we consider the interests of users there? They all
have laws that prohibit certain speech: in Germany, Nazi slogans and
propaganda; in the others, religion-oriented hate speech. Invariant
sections could contain libel, or borderline speech that is protected
in the some countries but not others. There are more examples to be
I *am* seriously proposing that, barring bizarre and currently
unrealized laws like "works may not carry any copyright notice," a
license which prohibits users from making the licensed materials legal
to use or distribute in their local jurisdiction is non-free. There
may be works where the primary method or objective is illegal under
some local laws. In that case, the modifications would likely be too
extensive to be worth making, but the license should allow that.
If the author wants to engage in off-topic sermons, that is his right,
but he cannot compel others to keep and further distribute those and
call the license truly free.
It is rather short-sighted to encourage a significant limitation in
freedom because no author has yet abused that limitation.
I'll be disappointed is nobody has come up with a better argument that
off-topic invariant sections can restrict "freedom."
DFSG #3 and #4 make it clear invariant sections are non-free. I need
no better argument to keep them out of Debian. If you want them in
Debian, you are the one who needs to come up with a better argument.