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Re: [Fsfe-uk] suitable 2-line license for webpages?

From: Ciaran O'Riordan
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] suitable 2-line license for webpages?
Date: 18 Feb 2006 16:45:34 +0000
User-agent: Gnus/5.09 (Gnus v5.9.0) Emacs/21.4

MJ Ray <address@hidden> writes:
> Ciaran O'Riordan <address@hidden>
> >   Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in
> >   any medium, provided this notice is preserved. Copying and distribution of
> >   works based on this article are permitted, provided that such works carry
> >   three things: (1) this copyright notice, (2) prominent notices stating the
> >   that it has been changed, and (3) information for how to obtain the
> >   original (such as a URL).

> I think you could combine the verbatim and modified permissions
> into one by:
> This article may be copied and distributed in whole or in part
> in any medium, provided that this notice is preserved
> and that the reproduced part is clearly marked.

I avoided requirements which involve either marking or referencing the
content because I would like enforcement to be as simple as looking in one
place and counting the three things listed.

> I think the information for how to obtain the original is
> forcing people a little much,

This was included because the notice is written with webpages in mind, and
these usually contain somebody's views.  I've decided that it is not
practical to use a 2-line copyright notice to prevent modifications which
the original author would not like, or would feel harmed by, so a link-back
clause seems like a good way to make the original work available to anyone
reading a modified version - to minimise the possible harm caused by
misrepresentation, and to reduce the harm caused by a person's work being
converted to endorse something which was in conflict with their original

> but you could tack that on the end
> if you wished, or put a URL in the copyright notice.

A URL in the copyright would be a good solution legally, but it means the
notice has to be modified for each page which uses it - and I'd like to keep
it real simple so that no mistakes can be made (such as by people who start
writing new webpages by renaming a copy of a template file).

I'd like for it to be as simple to use as the 1-line "verbatum-only" license
which GNU webpages use: "Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire
article are permitted worldwide, without royalty, in any medium, provided
this notice is preserved."  (So that maybe people will choose this more
permissive notice, when useful, over copying the verbatum-only one.)

CiarĂ¡n O'Riordan, _________|   Belfast, Northern Ireland, March 16th
http://ciaran.compsoc.com/ |         \\ FOSS Means Business //
http://www.fsfe.org________|      http://foss-means-business.org

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