Subject: Re: For Approval: MN Open Documentation License 1.0
From: Roddixon <>
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2004 9:47 -0400

I have always understood the FSF to forbid modifications of the GPL when 
using the GPL as a license, rather than forbidding use of the GPL as a FOSS 
license template.  It would be ironic, to say the least, if the FSF claimed 
a copyright interest in licenses that were drafted on the basis of the 
expression and ideas contained in the GPL.  Most, if not all, FOSS are in 
some sense derivative of the first generation free software licenses.

 I think we can agree that whether a copyright license (or portions of one) 
is subject to copyright protection is a highly controversial matter. My own 
opinion is that most, if any, standardized (or form) copyright licenses 
contain very little that shows evidence of the minimal originality required 
for copyright protection in the U.S.  And, regardless of terms to the 
contrary in a given license, a license cannot render itself copyright 
subject matter; the issue is a legal question controlled by an 
interpretation of the Copyright Act. Moreover, FOSS licenses seem 
particularly vulnerable to a claim that the licenses could only acquire 
razor thin protection since most not only permit copying, but require it. I 
will not get into the derivative use arguments because it is probably. 
apparent that the same arguments apply.

- Rod

Rod Dixon

...... Original Message .......
On Thu, 16 Dec 2004 20:00:06 +0000 Thorsten Glaser <> wrote:
>Michal Nazarewicz dixit:
>>Most of it is based on the [FDL] and [GPL] though parts from [LGPL] and 
>>[AFL] are present as well
>>>  [FDL] Section 2, Paragraph 1. Identical.
>Now the FSF could sue you for copyright infringement on their licence
>texts... they actually forbid you to take the text and modify it.
>Except of course you'd got the permission.
>>     If  your document  contains nontrivial  examples of  program  code, 
>we? Pluralis Maiestatis? ;)
>Now, seriously: what is wrong with using BSD, LGPL or GPL for
>documentation as well? Especially when parts of it are auto-
>generated from the code, such as it's the case with GNU lib-
>iberty, this is pretty much a "must".
>And the FSF just started the FDL to further restrict what the
>redistributors can do with their manuals, in order to be able
>to further publish their political (the GNU manifesto) and
>"ethical" (must not obstruct) goals - ironically, their use of
>invariant sections and cover texts is against the ethics that
>everything should be free as in GNU, i.e. freely modifiable as
>Just my 0.05 EUR (the inflation)