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Re: Critique of draft GNU Free Doucumentation License v1.0
INVARIANT SECTIONS ETC.
I think that the "Invariant Sections" and "Cover Texts" parts should
be eliminated. The problem is that they can be abused. One may put
any non-technical material here and be assured that it will appear
years later in modified versions.
That is the whole point. We use invariant sections like these in GNU
manuals already--for example, the GNU Manifesto in the Emacs
Manual--so any license we write has to provide for them.
Where this license differs from our previous approach is that it
permits people who modify the manual to add their own invariant
sections if they wish. I think it is not right that only the first
author can do that.
In order to make a license contained in a document very small in size
I would suggest that each document contain a very short license that
points to a url for the full text. Such a license might read:
That is a very unwise idea. The license for a work should always be
completely included in the work; otherwise, there is a danger that
they will get separated, and people who have copies will not be able
to be sure what she can legally do with them.
Referring to a URL can sounds like a good idea if you are thinking of a
year's time span. But we have to think of the long term (some GNU
manuals have been in use for over a decade). We cannot count on
any URL to remain valid for that long. We cannot count on URLs
to *exist* a decade from now.
We will certainly not recommend that people separate the license from
the document, and I hope that the LDP will not recommend it either.
NOT INTEROPERABLE WITH GPL
That is true, but it is impossible to be compatible with the GPL while
accomplishing the other goals of this license.
(The GNU Project doesn't recommend the GPL as the license for manuals.)
For any modified version I would require
that a transparent copy be placed at a well known Internet site (such
as LDP's with a large number of mirrors) for free distribution.
Part of the criteria for free software is that the license should not
require people to notify any specific place, or publish in any
specific place, when they exercise their rights. I think of that as a
matter of privacy, a rejection of central monitoring.
Thus, we will certainly not include such a requirement in a license
for the GNU Project to use. I hope that LDP authors writing about
parts of the GNU/Linux system will not use such requirements either.
The requirement is for at least one name. Suppose two people modify a
document but one of them does much more of it than the other. As
written, the one least responsible for the modification could put
their name on the modification thereby concealing the name of the
person who did most of the modification.
This part of the licenses applies when several people together write
one modified version. It is up to them jointly, or to the
organization they work for if any, to decide who to list.
If they are working together, they will do what they agree on. If
they are working for an organization, the organization will decide,
but authors who are concerned with this could bring it up when
discussing the contract with the organization. (That's normal
E. Preserve all the copyright notices of the Manual.
If only a small portion of the "Manual" has been used in the "modification"
the previous copyright notices should not need to be included.
If you use only a small portion, that is fair use, so the license is
irrelevant anyway. You always have fair use rights, no matter what a
license may say.
As a document is modified, it goes through various versions and in
some cases the document could be modified weekly. It would be
impractical to have pointers to all the old versions.
The license does not require you to include the pointers for *your
own* old versions. So in practice, when a team releases versions
frequently, it will not cause this kind of practical problem.
I added a statement that the publisher of a version can give you
permission to remove the pointer to that version.
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