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Re: [gNewSense-users] GFDL

From: MJ Ray
Subject: Re: [gNewSense-users] GFDL
Date: Mon, 03 Sep 2007 22:38:07 +0100
User-agent: Heirloom mailx 12.2 01/07/07

Matthew Flaschen <address@hidden> wrote:
> MJ Ray wrote:
> > [...] hinder re-using GNU manuals for other purposes,
> > because those cover texts can become inaccurate - or even fraudulent!
> I doubt it would be fraudulent if you put a clarifying notice.  [...]

Even if you assume that all printers add your *suggested* clarifying
notice, I'm not sure that a book which says "This is a GNU manual" and
"Oh no it isn't!" (and "behind you!"?) couldn't be fraudulent.

Why can it only be suggested?  Well, you can't specify two Back-Cover
Texts.  You can only replace it with "explicit permission from the
previous publisher that added the old one" (which seems a bit of a
daft thing to write, as I thought that was a basic feature of
copyright law, ability to give extra permissions).

I think needing to seek extra permissions not normally granted by FDL
counts as hindering re-use.  Compare: software licences where we have
to beg the copyright holders for permission to bugfix aren't free...

Finally, the prohibition on Invariant Sections not being functional is
a poison pill against re-use in any work covering the topic of an
Invariant Section.  Don't want instructions on using your software to
appear in a manual for direct action activists?  Include a 10-line
Invariant Section on why direct action is evil!  Not a problem in any
GNU manuals yet, but another way FDL doesn't ensure freedom to modify.

All this is sort-of moot here, though.  I don't expect gNewSense to
require manuals to be completely modifiable.

Hope that explains,
MJ Ray - see/vidu
Experienced webmaster-developers for hire
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