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[Forge-main] Re: [freeroleplay] Licensing

From: Ricardo Gladwell
Subject: [Forge-main] Re: [freeroleplay] Licensing
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2003 11:55:47 +0000
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.4.1) Gecko/20031008

Samuel Penn wrote:
On Sunday 23 November 2003 20:43, Ricardo Gladwell wrote:
1. Stick with FDL
2. License under the GPL
3. Dual-License under the FDL and GPL
4. Modify the GPL or FDL

I am going to be sticking with the FDL for the forseeable future.
To me, the 'transparent format' clause is important.

Hi Sam,

Does this mean that you would rather the FRPGC persisted with using the FDL? Would you disapprove of re-licensing under the GPL under any circumstances?

The problem with a FDL-only licensing approach is the Invariant Sections. This cannot be ignored: Invariant Sections contradict the FRPGC's freedoms:

1. The freedom to use the content, for any purpose.
2. The freedom to study the content, and adapt it to your needs.
> Access to an editable copy of the content is a precondition for this.
3. The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbours.
4. The freedom to modify the content, and release your own
modifications or supplementary material to the public, so that the
whole community benefits. Access to a transparent, or editable, copy
of the material is a precondition for this.

Invariant Sections prevent content being used for 'any purpose' or allowing users to adapt it to their needs. What is more, allowing closed-content to site alongside free-content is something the FRPGC criticises the OGF and the OGL for.

It also has the potential for serious abuse: one example being the addition of advertisements as Invariant Sections. Similarly, whilst reasonable political statements could be fixed to a modified FDL document, more unpleasant, extreme political statements could be fixed as Invariant Sections. The examples are still posible without Invariant Sections, but at least downstream editors could remove them.

Another problem with a FDL-only licensing approach is the GPL-incompatabilty issue. It would be nice if we could also publish under the GPL so software developers could create programs using free content roleplaying systems. Dual licensing then, naturally, brings us to the idea - if we need to license under the GPL, why do we need the FDL?

So, if we're to respect your desire for Transparent copies we're left with several options: It might be possible to release the GPL with the additional condition that 'modifiable version' (the term used to describe source code) is more clearly described to fall in line with the FDL definition of Transparent copy. Since most open-source programs fall under this definition, this may not be so much of a problem (this will need verification from the FSF).

Another option is that we continue to support the FDL but clearly state that we do not approve of Invariant Sections and refuse to link to any documents that use this clause of the FDL. It might also be an idea to start some sort of petition against Invariant Sections, requesting their removal from future versions of the FDL. This does not eliminate the problem that it would be nice to dual-license under the GPL for the purposes of RPG software development.



Ricardo Gladwell
President, Free Roleplaying Community

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