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LDP License = LDPL (was Re: Current summit)

On Fri, Sep 29, 2000 at 05:59:50PM -0300, Guylhem Aznar wrote:
> Since we could not find a good agreement on the licenses, we are
> thinking about merging the LDPL and the LDP Manifesto as the "license
> policy", explaining which license could be used, etc.
It's none too clear at first reading what the LDPL means regarding
license policy.  Here's the license policy from v2.0 of the LDPL:

       The following license terms apply to all LDP documents, unless
       otherwise stated in the document. The LDP documents may be
       reproduced and distributed in whole or in part, in any medium
       physical or electronic, provided that this license notice is
       displayed in the reproduction. Commercial redistribution is
       permitted and encouraged. Thirty days advance notice via email to
       the author(s) of redistribution is appreciated, to give the
       authors time to provide updated documents.
       [Continues with: A. REQUIREMENTS OF MODIFIED WORKS ] 

The first sentence above ("The following ...") implies that the LDPL
applies to all LDP documents that contain no license at all (and there
are some HOWTOs like this).  If a LDP doc has it's own license then
the terms should be stated in such a license and thus are also "stated
in the document".  In this case the terms of the LDPL do not apply
since they are likely covered by whatever license the author has
chosen (or written).

Thus the LDPL license terms do not apply to "all LDP documents" but only
to those that either use the LDPL as a license or contain no license
at all.  The exception to this would be for the situation where the
license left out a topic covered by the LDPL so that by default the
LDPL terms for this topic would apply.

There's a problem here.  This statement in the LDPL makes it an
agreement between the LDP and the author of any LDP document that the
LDPL will apply by default to any topic not covered by the author's
License (but covered by the LDPL).  Yet we are not informing authors
of this requirement so it's not really valid and most authors have
never agreed to it.  One solution might be to change the first
sentence to:

       The following license terms also apply to any LDP document which
       is released without a license.

Before doing this it would be wise to read over all the licenses used
in LDP docs to make sure there are not ones that fail to cover
important topics like whether or not the document may be modified.  If
there are some that are vague, the author should be asked to redo the
license to clarify it (and of course encouraged to let the doc be

Another solution would be to revise the LDPL and mention in the
Manifesto that the terms in the LDPL apply by default for any topic
covered by the LDPL that is not covered by the license an author uses.

Perhaps the best solution would be to ask the authors of LDP docs that
now contain no license to find a license.   For a short document,
authors might want to put only a pointer in their doc in their license.
Then that sentence "The following ..." could just be dropped.  Also,
many people cite the LDPL by reference, which conflict with the LDPL
"LICENSE" paragraph:

       The LDP documents may be reproduced and distributed ...
       provided that this license notice is displayed in the

We can't just ignore the LDPL since many people have used it as their
license for LDP documents.  Most people seem to have cited it by it's
url (metalab.unc.edu/COPYRIGHT.html).

Any new significant revision of the LDPL should have a different url
so that authors could put the new url in their doc if they decided to
accept any revision we might make.  However, just revising the LDPL so
as to only deal with the applicability of the license to docs which
don't use the LDP license is not really changing the license.  So I
think that could be done without changing the url.  Also, since most
people using the license are in violation of the license by only
citing it by reference, I think it would be OK to change the license
to make citing by reference legal.  This shouldn't require any change
the url.

One reason I don't like the GFDL is that it doesn't permit citing the
license by reference.  For a small document, the GFDL would exceed the
size of the document.

But the problem before us is what to do about the LDPL.  Do we want to
try to fix it and then suggest it for new authors to use?  Be warned
that past debates over this license and how to revise it have
sometimes resulted in flame wars.  So let's not use ad hominem
arguments as they're not allowed by Robert's Rules of Order (-:

> David, what do you think about that? Would you like to take care of the
> merging? We will provide you a draft.

OK but it needs to be presented to the group as a whole for their
			David Lawyer

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