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Re: (end of) Development and documentation in Debian

hendrik@topoi.pooq.com wrote:
> In international copyright law, there are rights belonging to the author 
> that he cannot sign away.  These include the right to be considered the
> author.  This means that if the document mentions him as author (perhaps 
> on a title page) it is illegal to change that to, say, a different name.

    I'd love to see how this flies considering the large corpus of work where
the author is most certainly not known to the audience by the document.  For
example any of the Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events" series of
books.  That is unless you believe the author's name is "Lemony Snicket".  Or
_Dreams Come Due_ by John Galt, the character from Ayn Rand's _Atlas
Shrugged_, if you prefer a non-fiction example.

    Sure, in both cases one can't just take the books, change the author name
and viola, have a new book.  But that isn't the same as being considered the
author as neither book list the true author.  Of course those are simple
cases.  There are much harder examples which are commonplace where there are
writers who write for well-known authors and never get credited for their
work.  It is not an uncommon practice.

    Finally there is the simple case of what the original author would think
of the derivative work.  Just a simple example based on people on this list.
I am a Libertarian.  Paul Johnson is a Socialist.  Do you think in anything
short of a parallel universe either of us would want our name associated with
a political manifesto written by one but modified by the other?  I know that
if Paul revised any document I put out based on my political views I wouldn't
want my name attached to it and I'm fairly certain he feels the same.  So why
should a document that's been altered retain the original author's name (be it
his true or pen-name or the name of the author who just paid him to write) if
the original author didn't write it and may not agree with it?

> Thus there are restricions on the changes that can be made to a document,
> even if he chooses to allow it.  Should we put every document that is 
> signed by its author in the nonfree category for this reason?  In 
> theory, this would apply to code, too.

    Though this would put an interesting kink on form letters, wouldn't it?  ;)

         Steve C. Lamb         | But who decides what they dream?
       PGP Key: 8B6E99C5       |   And dream I do...

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