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Re: Boilerplate License Revision Proposal

On Sat, Jul 29, 2000 at 01:49:34PM -0400, Robert Kiesling wrote:

> Apologies also for the U.S. centrism, but works that are published
> here are implicitly copyrighted.  I'm not sure what the laws are in
> other countries.  That is, works written in the U.S. (whatever that
> means) do not need to contain an explicit copyright notice in order to
> receive the protections of the relevant laws.  An author has to
> explicitly relax the copyright restrictions, by including in the
> document, license terms of his/her own choosing, like the ones used by
> LDP authors.
Or implicity relax the restrictions.  For example, if you put your
work on the Internet, the fact that it must be copied in order to be
viewed implies that you have given permission to others to make a copy
of it.  This is the case whether or not you have put a copyright
notice in it or not.  Beyond reading it on-line, it's not clear if one
may copy it in other ways.  There is also a "fair use" provision of
the copyright law.  One book I looked at thought that you could also
make one print copy on a printer without infringement of copyright.
Can one save such a work to their harddrive?  Well, if it's OK to
print it, it should be OK to copy it to disk.  Since lawsuits are not
being brought for infrigement for doing the above, it seems that it
may be OK but it's not entirely clear.

> Considering that there now seem to be about an equal number of
> commercial and non-commercial Linux manuals available, both by LDP and
> non-LDP authors, and that (correct me if I'm wrong here) posting a
> document on the Web has the same legal force as a hard-copy,
> commercial publication, it seems to me completely irrelevant,
> presumptuous, unethical, and perhaps even illegal, that a
> non-publishing trade group should specify or even recommend the
> license terms that a document should carry.

I don't think LDP is "non-publishing trade group".  We do publish on
the Web on our site (which is widely mirrored).  Any site can select
what it will put on that site.  I think it's part of freedom of speech
and the press.  The Web is like the press and the press (or a website)
can (within limits such as obscenity) select and publish whatever they
choose.  Thus LDP has every right to select and put on it's website,
only those docs that meet its criteria for licenses, format, quality,

                        David Lawyer

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