Florian Cramer on Tue, 30 Jul 2002 05:47:08 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> question: GPL or OPL?

Am Mon, 29.Jul.2002 um 10:12:57 -0400x schrieb pankalia@netscape.net:
> does anybody knows the difference between GPL and OPL?. 

Here's a quick attempt:

The GPL was written for computer software and talks about the "Program" as
the licensed work. In 1998, the Open Content License
<http://www.opencontent.org> was coined together with the concept of "Open
Content". The original Open Content License was largely identical to the
GPL, but replaced "Program" with "content".

>From the viewpoint of book authors and other artists, the GPL and
GPL-derived copylefts have two major disadvantages:

1) They don't protect authors from publication of censored or falsified
versions of their work;

2) They allow reprints and commercial publication without compensation of
the author, and even without asking him/her for permission.

IMHO, both problems are not specific of non-software media, but apply to
computer software as well. The GPL provides, for example, no protection
against a modification of a computer game into a Neonazi game (as it was
done with "Castle Wolfenstein" in the 1980s) or third-party insertions of
malware/spyware functions into existing popular free software programs.  
And it permits companies like Linux distributors to make profit from
software they didn't write. Both issues haven't affected Free Software too
much yet because of the strength of the developer community and since most
companies selling Free Software, like RedHat and IBM, play fair by
employing programmers and contributing to community development.

Since these issues became more pressing when Free Software/Open Source was
generalized into "Open Content", specific Open Content Licenses like the
OPL ("Open Publication License") and FDL ("GNU Free Documentation
License") were written. Both FDL and OPL impose policies on modifications
of texts by allowing unmodifiable parts of the document or requiring to
make third-party alterations visible. In addition, the OPL optionally
allows authors to veto modifications and paper reprints of works.

But you can easily figure it out by reading the OPL yourself, especially
the last part of it:

> All modified versions of documents covered by this license, including
> translations, anthologies, compilations and partial documents, must meet
> the following requirements:
> 1. The modified version must be labeled as such.
> 2. The person making the modifications must be identified and the
> modifications dated.
> 3. Acknowledgement of the original author and publisher if applicable
> must be retained according to normal academic citation practices.
> 4. The location of the original unmodified document must be identified.
> 5. The original author's (or authors') name(s) may not be used to assert
> or imply endorsement of the resulting document without the original
> author's (or authors') permission.
> In addition to the requirements of this license, it is requested from
> and strongly recommended of redistributors that:
> 1. If you are distributing Open Publication works on hardcopy or CD-ROM,
> you provide email notification to the authors of your intent to
> redistribute at least thirty days before your manuscript or media
> freeze, to give the authors time to provide updated documents. This
> notification should describe modifications, if any, made to the
> document.
> 2. All substantive modifications (including deletions) be either clearly
> marked up in the document or else described in an attachment to the
> document.
> 3. Finally, while it is not mandatory under this license, it is
> considered good form to offer a free copy of any hardcopy and CD-ROM
> expression of an Open Publication-licensed work to its author(s).
> The author(s) and/or publisher of an Open Publication-licensed document
> may elect certain options by appending language to the reference to or
> copy of the license. These options are considered part of the license
> instance and must be included with the license (or its incorporation by
> reference) in derived works.
> A. To prohibit distribution of substantively modified versions without
> the explicit permission of the author(s). "Substantive modification" is
> defined as a change to the semantic content of the document, and
> excludes mere changes in format or typographical corrections.
> To accomplish this, add the phrase `Distribution of substantively
> modified versions of this document is prohibited without the explicit
> permission of the copyright holder.' to the license reference or copy.
> B. To prohibit any publication of this work or derivative works in whole
> or in part in standard (paper) book form for commercial purposes is
> prohibited unless prior permission is obtained from the copyright
> holder.
> To accomplish this, add the phrase 'Distribution of the work or
> derivative of the work in any standard (paper) book form is prohibited
> unless prior permission is obtained from the copyright holder.' to the
> license reference or copy.
> (This is not considered part of the license.)
> Open Publication works are available in source format via the Open
> Publication home page at
> http://works.opencontent.org/.
> Open Publication authors who want to include their own license on Open
> Publication works may do so, as long as their terms are not more
> restrictive than the Open Publication license.  If you have questions
> about the Open Publication License, please contact David Wiley, and/or
> the Open Publication Authors' List at opal@opencontent.org, via email.


GnuPG/PGP public key ID 3200C7BA, finger cantsin@mail.zedat.fu-berlin.de

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