[linux-elitists] Open-sourcing a book

kmself@ix.netcom.com kmself@ix.netcom.com
Thu Mar 22 13:21:22 PST 2001


on Thu, Mar 22, 2001 at 01:03:19PM -0800, Rick Moen (rick@linuxmafia.com) wrote:
> begin  kmself@ix.netcom.com quotation:
>  
> > I'd also check licensing of current HOWTOs.  I believe some are simply
> > GPLd, despite the round hole/square peg fit of SW licenses to content.
> 
> Common misconception.
> 
> Michael Stutz, in "Applying Copyleft to Non-Software Information"
> (http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/nonsoftware-copyleft.html), explains:
> 
>    The GNU GPL states that it "applies to any program or other work which
>    contains a notice placed by the copyright holder saying it may be
>    distributed under the terms of this General Public License," so this
>    "Program," then, may not necessarily be a computer software program --
>    any work of any nature that can be copyrighted can be copylefted with
>    the GNU GPL. 
> 
>    The GNU GPL references the "source code" of a work; this "source code"
>    will mean different things for different kinds of information, but the
>    definition of "source code" -- provided in the GNU GPL -- holds true in
>    any case: "The source code for a work means the preferred form of the
>    work for making modifications to it." 

The issue is less one of being _unable_ to apply the GPL to a
non-software work, and more one of there being issues in non-software
works which are (significantly) different from software.  Either
portions of the GPL which don't make much sense (what's source code or
operating system for a text?) or which the GPL doesn't address.

Hence the FSF's own efforts to create documentation licenses.

-- 
Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>    http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?       There is no K5 cabal
  http://gestalt-system.sourceforge.net/         http://www.kuro5hin.org
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