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Re: [vox] Re: Good LUG HOW-TO by Rick Moen
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Re: [vox] Re: Good LUG HOW-TO by Rick Moen

Quoting Peter Jay Salzman (p@dirac.org):

> this sounds great to me!  many of us are developers of some sort.  this
> would be a useful talk indeed.

OK, sign me up!

> heh.  this is sort of along the lines of "use my exact clone, but kill
> the clone if it gets a pimple".  :)   it's pretty strange, but i think
> everyone can understand the reason for doing something like this.

Yeah, that's a big part of it.

Case 1:

Sometimes, you put something up on the Web, with the aim that nobody
has permission to mirror it, or make works based on it, without asking
special permission.  You want it to be only at your site unless you say
otherwise, and you want it to go away when your site goes away.  You
don't want it to be a living document.

Perfect; you don't have to do much of anything, because that's the
default according to copyright law.  Redistribution and
creation/distribution of derivative works are rights reserved to the
shareholder.  You might want to put a copyright notice at the bottom to
mark your territory, but the law doesn't require this.

Disadvantage:  If you're hoping your document will be a big success and
relied upon by some technical community, you may have just shot it in
the foot, because cautious readers will know it may vanish at any time,
and they may not lawfully take over its maintenance.  The current 
PalmOS Programming FAQ is a case in point:  Lots of us have archived 
copies, but technically cannot re-post them or update and repost them
without violating the author's (Warren Young's) copyrights.  

Young based his FAQ on Wade Hatler's earlier FAQ, which made Young's 
possible by explicitly permitting derivative works.  But Young forbids 
other people from enjoying the same benefit with his, because he's 
not comfortable with lacking full "control".  He's aware of the irony of
this, but won't budge.  

So, I keep Hatler's final version around in my PalmOS open-source
collections (http://linuxmafia.com/pub/palmos/), explain why I can't
offer Young's update, and encourage other people to create new forks.

Case 2:

You're fine with people offering mirror copies, but the content is
personal, so you want to control what wording is attributed to you.
E.g., essays such as my LUG one.  You think about it for a while, and 
realise that existence of mirrors under other people's control means
you'll tend to have version skew:  You'll have updated your copy, which
you think of as the master copy -- possibly to correct some ghastly
error -- but the mirrors may not.  Further, you stop and reliase that
_you_ know your copy is the master one, but maybe nobody else will.

So, one way to address those concerns is to state prominently in the
document the URL of the master version, and make sure mirrors include 
that statement.

You think about it some more, and realise that none of these concerns
need apply to derivative works that are completely divorced from you
and thus pose no liability to your good name and interests.   So, you
can permit any fork that does exactly that.a  Don Marti invented the
latter concept, and called it "Bastard Reverse Copyleft":  You can do
anything you want with my work as long as you consistently assert that
it's your and nowhere attribute it to me.

So, my LUG essay says you may mirror it 100% intact with no changes
allowed.  _Or_ you may make changes and do anything whasoever with it,
if and only if you follow Bastard Reverse Copyleft principles in all
matters of attribution.

I personally think this would be perfect for the concerns Young
expressed to me in e-mail, but he seems not to agree.

Case 3:  

The work isn't personal.  Nobody's going to sue you or gun you down for
someone's botched variant version that still has your name on it.
http://linuxmafia.com/pub/linux/security/ssh-clients is like this,
as is http://linuxmafia.com/pub/linux/security/ftp-daemons .  Notice
these are both technical-information files that I basically want to 
spread far and wide, and give rise to other, perhaps better variants.

Frankly, I'm a little disapointed at control-freak licence efforts
like the GNU Free Documentation License, the Open Content License,
the Open Publication License, and the Open Directory Licence (from
dmoz.org).  Yuck.

So, I personally chose to use the GNU GPL for those.  What, a software
licence for a non-software work?  Of course.  Please see:

I'm sure I can think of other categories of writings, but this message
has already gotten awfully long.

Cheers,             The shortest distance between two puns is a straightline.
Rick Moen
vox mailing list

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