[Tango-artists] CC-SA & GPL Compatibility
joss at debian.org
Mon Nov 14 06:33:26 PST 2005
On Tue Nov 8 03:04:23 PST 2005, Jakub Steiner wrote:
> Since our own interpretations of the licenses don't really mean
> anything, we have forwarded this to the Novell legal department. We'll
> discuss the result of their analysis on the list.
I'm glad to hear that, and I hope something interesting will come out. I
believe it's a bad idea to license these icons solely under a CC
> But if you're interested in my personal view on the matter, I believe
> the spirit of both GPL and CC Share Alike is very similar. It is about
> giving up some rights of the content creator to provide easier sharing
> of the work. Both allow derivate works to be created and both include a
> clause to always remain licensed in exactly the same terms.
Yes, the spirit is the same but they are incompatible. As such, you
couldn't make, for example, these icons the default GNOME icon set, as
that would mean GPL applications would have to rely on icons licensed
under a GPL-incompatible license.
> If there
> really are incompatibilities, I am convinced the CC and GPL people will
> be interested in fixing them up as I cannot imagine free software
> distributions would like to miss the opportunity to ship a growing
> library of free content. This problem doesn't affect the Tango project
> only, it is a lot broader.
I fail to see how this could happen. I don't think the FSF will modify
the GPL to be compatible with just another not-so-free license. And the
Creative Commons license was written after the GPL; if they were aiming
for GPL compatibility, they could have achieved it.
> The reason we chose the CC SA was that it doesn't talk about code, but
> (artistic) works.
And this is exactly the reason why I think it's not wise to use that
license for an icon set. An application isn't usable without the
underlying icon set, and the icon set doesn't have use outside
applications. This is the reason why the GNOME policy about icon sets is
to have them available under the LGPL: the same license as the
libraries, no more, no less.
> There are a few points I can make about the debian
> analysis, but again I haven't studied law and I'm not experienced in the
> field to really give these words any credibility:
> * Both licenses have very similar goals - to provide freedoms to
> use, modify and distribute the work. The GPL unfortunately uses
> language specific to source code.
Apart from the wording of the "program" and "source code", which
requires some clarification from the copyright holders, the GPL can be
used for many things, not only programs.
> * None of the debian legal analysis talks about a major
> philosophical clash. It's all nuances, technical difficulties.
Sure. But, were the copyright holders to become aggressive against
people using the software, they could sue users based on these technical
difficulties. When the copyright holder is the FSF, there isn't much
reason to fear such issues, but when the copyright holder is Novell, you
can't know what their intentions will be in the future.
> * One of the nits in the debian legal analysis is the lacking
> ability to give proper credits as required by the CC SA license.
> We are currently embedding the license and authorship
> information in each single icon (not the bitmaps yet, but will
> be done as soon as the GIMP's metadata editor is in shape). I
> don't see a problem there.
As I understand the license, you'd have to cite prominently the authors
of the original theme in any derivative work. It isn't perfectly clear
to me, but the worst-case scenario would be to have to quote the
copyright holders in every application using the icons.
> * I don't get the DRM agrument, the GPL is aiming at patents (in
> the next incarnation), the biggest showstopper for the free
> software movement. The EFF/free culture movement is aiming at
> DRM as the biggest showstopper for free media.
DRM is eveil , but nevertheless, a license preventing distribution on
DRM media is utterly non-free. The right of privacy is more important
than the obligation to redistribute modifications. Anti-DRM clauses like
that of the GFDL, with a strict interpretation, forbid you to do a
"chmod 600" on the files or to transmit them over a SSH connection. A
carefully written anti-DRM clause would avoid such side effects, but
this isn't the case of that of the Creative commons license.
> * The logo trademark -- just like any other identity/logo, the
> clause allows to use it for showing the content is distributed
> under one of the CC licenses. I don't see why not being able to
> mess around with the logo makes the content non-GPL compatible.
> It doesn't seem to be a problem for Redhat Linux as it didn't
> seem to matter for Ximian GNOME distribution.
The reason why it is GPL-incompatible is that any restriction that isn't
in the GPL makes you incompatible with the GPL, because of GPL section
6: "You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients'
exercise of the rights granted herein."
But this one is not only GPL-incompatible, it is non-free: it prevents
you from using the trademark by any means. This means, for example,
Redhat would have to remove any references to the Creative Commons name.
Anyway, as the analysis states, this particular restriction isn't
normally part of the license. A statement from the copyright holders
telling they don't make these restrictions part of the license would be
> * The CC SA have gone through at least two revisions (at v2.5
> now). The analysis appears to be based on v2.0.
All questionable clauses are still here in the 2.5 version.
> So to answer your question - having GPL and CC SA incompatible would be
> a huge defeat for both the free software movement and the free culture
Why that? Both licenses were written with different goals, and they
never intended to be compatible.
> My feeling is that *if* there really are problems, they
> can/will be solved. Tango project may be the motivator to solve them.
Sorry, but you're being way too optimistic here. Either way, it would
mean rewriting one or both of the licenses to suit your needs. As you're
just starting the project, why not choosing an appropriate license now
and not later? If you want the icons to be GPL-compatible, you have to
choose a GPL-compatible license from the very beginning. By choosing a
license which is knowingly incompatible, you are preventing mixing with
GPL works and this cannot be seen as unintentional.
> Yes, we want GPLed free software to ship with CC SA artwork and 
> doesn't convince me you couldn't even before I have the reply from
> Novell legal.
The correct way to achieve that - and I think it would be the best
solution for everyone - is to dual-license this work under both the GPL
(or preferably LGPL) and the CC SA licenses.
(Please CC me, I'm not subscribed to the list.)
.''`. Josselin Mouette /\./\
: :' : josselin.mouette at ens-lyon.org
`. `' joss at debian.org
`- Debian GNU/Linux -- The power of freedom
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