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Re: Critique of draft GNU Free Documentation License v1.0



On Wed, Jan 12, 2000 at 12:15:40PM +0000, Kim Lester wrote:
> 
>  This is outside my domain and perhaps I should just keep quiet but...
> 
>    With specific regards to the proposed clauses for derivation of
>    works I have these comments:
> 
>    Placing the burden of contact on someone trying to derive a work
>    from a "free" published text makes it just too hard. People
>    change email addresses/move states/countries etc. Some don't have
>    access to email. This rule hobbles those who might most benefit
>    from using the documents. Impractical clauses are worse than
>    no clauses.

Here is what it now says in our "Boilerplate License":
    Except for translations, send a copy to the previous
    maintainer's url as shown in the latest version.
This is not much of a burden.  If the email is wrong, you've still
complied with the requirement.  If there is no url for the maintainer
(unlikely) you have nothing to do.  

Even though it's not much of a burden there are reasoned arguments
both for and against it.  Although I originally supported it I'm now
neutral on it for this short license.

For a longer license, I still think it's a good idea.  Such a license
would exempt from this requirement any modification made for internal
use within an organization.  It might also try to avoid the following
loophole:  Suppose A is the author and B and C want to modify A's work
but conceal what they have done.  So B modifies A's work just a little
and sends a copy of it to A.  B then becomes the maintainer of this
modified work.  Then C takes it from B and makes major modifications
that C and B don't want A to know about.  C only needs to notify B.  A
similar case would be where B and C are not in cahoots with each other
and major changes are made that A doesn't find out about.  
-- 
                                David Lawyer


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