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Re: Updating the OpenContent license

I have to agree with Deb. While I think it makes sense to clear up confusion
around two licenses with the same acronym (which may or may not involve
unifying them), I am in no way interested in trying to Borg-ize the realm of
content licenses. I say hoorah to rms for pushing this important idea
forward. We all benefit whenever someone takes up the cause.


Deb Richardson wrote:

> David Lawyer wrote:
> > Since Richard Stallman of the Free Software Foundation has drafted a
> > "GNU Free Documentation License" I suggest that the Open Publication
> > License (OPL) be merged with it.
> I think that this is an extremely bad idea.  Having more licenses,
> particularly those like the OPL and the new FSF licenses, is a good
> thing.  Having only one license doesn't do much for an author's "freedom
> of choice", really, particularly when you're talking about removing the
> aspects of the OPL that make it so attractive in many situations.
> > The OPL lets the author choose an option in the license regarding
> > modification.  One case is where one may freely modify the publication
> > without needing to contact the original author (or current maintainer).
> > Another option (which I don't like) is to allow modification only if
> > the original author consents.  Suppose the original author can't be
> > located, is non-responsive, or is not cooperative in permitting needed
> > modifications.  I think that for free publications, anyone should
> > ultimately have the right to modify them.
> I, as an author, would very much like to be able to choose whether
> others are allowed to modify my released documents or not.  I would also
> like to be able to choose who has and hasn't print publication rights.
> Granted, restricting print publication rights is a very serious
> restriction.  Documents licensed under such restrictions are not
> appropriate for the Open Source Writers Group project (you can read our
> Licensing Policy at http://www.oswg.org/docs/about.html).  As an author,
> however, I would very much like to have that choice.  More importantly,
> the ability to restrict modifications is very important to me.  If I
> release a paper or essay, for example, I would like to control who makes
> modifications and what modifications are made.
> Technical documentation is a different story.  I agree that Open Content
> technical documentation should, whereever possible, be released under a
> license that allows for free distribution, modification, and
> publication.  But technical documentation is only one catagory of the
> documents that could possibly be covered by the Open Publication
> License.  The OPL is, in my opinion, an excellent foundation for a more
> generally usable license.
> It also has to be accepted that not everyone is going to release their
> documents under a license that is acceptable to everyone.  That's just
> part of the game.  We cannot _force_ authors to release their docs under
> a certain license (or at all, for that matter), so why would we work to
> eliminate valid licensing options in an effort to create a single
> license?  It's simply non-sensical, and completely goes against the
> whole idea of "freedom" in terms of allowing an author's freedom of
> choice.
> - deb
> (deb@oswg.org, editor@oswg.org)
> .======================================.
> | This has been an OpenContent mailing |
> |      http://www.opencontent.org      |
> `======================================'

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