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Re: Request for GR: clarifying the license text licensing / freeness issue

Le Tue, Apr 17, 2007 at 03:59:08PM -0400, Nathanael Nerode a écrit :
> Alternate suggested GR text:
> ---------------------------
> The Debian Project notes that many license texts are copyrighted works, licensed 
> only under meta-licenses which prohibit the creation of derivative license texts.
> We consider this to be undesirable.  License texts are functional works; reusing 
> legal text from an earlier license makes a new license much easier to read and 
> interpret, while brand new legal text is likely to have unexpected results.  
> This is true even of preambles, which can have an effect on the interpretation of
> the license.  We encourage all authors of license texts to allow the creation of 
> derivative license texts.

While not being a DD, I would just like to make the following comment:
the fact that some licences are not modifiable has probably a reason,
and I think that it would be wiser to find, understand, and discuss it
before voting on the sole fact that being modifible can have some

My hypohtesis is that forbiding modifications prevents from bad things
such as having a "GNU Genial Public Licence" with the same text as the
GPL except that there is an added clause saying that you have to send a
gold bar to the an animal liberation front each time you eat gnu meat. I
am sure that that treacherous licences are forbidden by the law in many
countries, but is it the case in all of them ? Having an unmodifiable
licence addresses the question by not relying on laws enforcing fairness
in contracts to avoid those situations. If it looks like the license, it
is the verbatim or a fake. There is clearly an advantage to this.
(Which has to be balanced with others such as restriction of freedom to
modify of course).

Have a nice day,

Charles Plessy
Wako, Saitama, Japan

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