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Re: [off topic] Re: Licensing issues

First, a few quick comments.  I _do_ believe that the LDP license issue
_has_ to be fixed.  Some of the documents have pseudo-licenses that make
it impossible to keep them up-to-date.  Currently, if an author disappears
for some doc, then the doc CANNOT be maintained legally by anyone else.
That's got to be fixed for the LDP to be viable long-term.

On Sep 22,  1:51am, Gary Lawrence Murphy wrote:
> Subject: Re: [off topic] Re: Licensing issues
>>>>>>>> "T" == Terry Dawson <terry@albert.animats.net> writes:

>>>If software is derived from GPL software, that software must be GPL
>>>and while it can be more free, it cannot be less free.

I'm not a lawyer.  I don't even play one on TV.  Nevertheless,
while you can certainly find murky areas of law, in general copyright
issues are MUCH CLEARER for documents than they are for software.
After all, copyright was specifically written with documents in mind,
and software was hacked into the copyright laws much later.

For the United States, copyright law is governed by title 17 of the
U.S. code.  See http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/index.html.
You can also find some info at ttp://lcweb.loc.gov/copyright.
Most other countries' laws are similar.
Take a peek at them; they're not that hard to read & may help any discussion.

>>>If, on the other hand, research for a book is based on LDP documents
>>>and makes copious quotes, correcting commentary and grammar, and then
>>>making logical references to it to support a new point not found in
>>>the original (ie function call equivalents, corrected functional
>>>definitions, and new higher-level functions), then, by the GPL,
>>>can you sell that book?

See the copyright law entries under "Fair Use" (section 107).
It would depend on what you did.  If you're just quoting a document
while making some other point, then you can do whatever you like with
the result.  If you just quote the entire book and claim it's a different
work, forget it.

>>>If a study course (an application) is based on a document, and the
>>>professor likewise corrects and extends the material, can you charge a fee
>>>for that course under the GPL?

The GPL permits reasonable copying fees, as long as you make the
electronic version available.

If by "study course" you mean a typical university class, then naturally
you can charge for the course.
Universities generally charge separately for the books & the class.
You can charge for the privilege
of attending the lecture, interacting with the class, receiving credit, etc.
No one would confuse the class with the book.

>>>If Eric Raymond speaks to a room full of engineers using modified
>>>ideas of the GPL licenced documents, can he charge for the appearance?

Of course.  A copyright only protects a particular expression of an idea.
You can't copyright the idea itself.  And you can charge whatever
you want, and you can say what you like (free speech).

>>>Can he charge for a book containing his talk?

Yes, if the form of expression is significantly different.

>>>The whole notion of
>>>"derived/extended" and mere use (ie LGPL) in natural language is very,
>>>very murky.

Particular cases may be murky, but the body of law and court cases
involved here are fairly extensive.

>>>What if someone were to take an LDP document and transform it into a
>>>politically slanted work in conflict with the aims of the LDP, say,
>>>for example, to change it to highlight the shortcomings of some core
>>>Linux system such as KPPP? It could become a Microsoft sales tool.
>>>Because software has no 'implied' meanings or grades of truth, such a
>>>derived work could be attributed to the LDP under the GPL.

The copyright law forbids people to write something and claim that
someone else said it.  See US Code, Title 17, section 106A.


--- David A. Wheeler

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