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Re: New OPL Draft

On Thu, Jan 27, 2000 at 11:20:37AM -0700, David Wiley wrote:
> As for the content of the license itself, we have seen several good
> suggestions in the past few weeks. One is that the "publisher's name on the
> cover" option does not apply to (what now constitutes) the majority of works
> published under the OPL. I would like to recommend that this clause be moved
> down to become a third option.

That, in conjunction with the strategy of three licenses, is something I
think I can get behind.

> We have also read much about license proliferation and the confusion a

I don't know if you're referencing my mail as well, but if you are, thanks.
I got exactly zero feedback on it[1].  Even *my* ego won't let me believe a
kind of Nixonian "Silent Majority" was at work there.  :)

> We should create three licenses which provide varying levels of freedom /
> protection to the authors and publishers of documents.

This proposal addresses my concerns admirably, and is something I think the
Debian project could endorse.

It's not yet well known outside the project, but we have recently created a
new section of our archive called "data", which comprises non-executing
data of any format.

I think it may be possible to extend the DFSG[2] a little bit to permit
information under RMS's libertarian license-in-development, as well as
information under the "VPL" (Verbatim Publication License) as it applies to
non-executing data.  This would enable us to endorse as "free", not just
"book" type works of an artistic bent, but also things like certain kinds
of geographic data sets which could be staggeringly useful but which are
not licensed for modification, and even fun things like game levels for
Doom/Quake/Descent and such.  Many level designers for games take artistic
pride in their work -- quite justifiably in many cases -- and would like
their textures, polymodels, sound effects, et al. to remain unaltered.  I
think an approach that enables us to welcome these people into the free
software community unreservedly, with no risk of them being characterized
as "bad citizens" just for taking this attitude towards their data, is a
good thing.

> What does everyone think?

Needless to say, I speak only for myself; but if things finalize in a form
fairly close to your proposal, I would undertake to draft a general
resolution under the Debian constitution to embrace these changes.

I am not sure that we can come out in full endorsement of the new OPL,
given the ability of people to exercise options that could be perceived as
pretty burdensome; but two out of three isn't bad.  In any event, the new
OPL will need a lot of scrutiny before anything too certain can be said.

But your porposal is, in my opinion, a very large step in the right

> NEW OPL DRAFT (with language changes by corporate lawyers, but none of the
> content changes recommended above)

If section I.5. could be made section IV.1(c), then I do not find the OPL
objectionable on general grounds (from my lay perspective).

[1] I'd also like to hear some feedback from my fellow Debian developers.
Feel free to restrict followups to debian-legal if you want.  I just don't
want to claim that all kinds of things are acceptable to Debian that, in
fact, aren't[3].

[2] Or come up with a DFCG (Debian Free Content Guidelines) document, which
would serve for the data section the same purpose the DFSG does for our
main and contrib sections.

[3] Inside joke:
Bgurejvfr xabja nf "chyyvat n Wbfrcu Pnegre". :-C

G. Branden Robinson            |    It's not a matter of alienating authors.
Debian GNU/Linux               |    They have every right to license their
branden@ecn.purdue.edu         |    software however we like.
roger.ecn.purdue.edu/~branden/ |    -- Craig Sanders, on debian-devel

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