Apparently the license of freesounds.org prevents inclusion into linux distributions as linux can be packaged and sold.
No, it's because the GPL is incompatible with CC-SP, according to Linux distributors. I think that this is largely a problem in terms of confusion and maintenance, rather than a legal position based on a rational understanding of the law.
Last edited by Argh on 02 Mar 2010, 18:23, edited 1 time in total.
The problem with large apps requiring credit was that it was simply too impractical and unwieldly as projects grew. The BSD license used to require this, and the requirement was axed. The Debian repos are really the ones that are strict about allowing non-free content, but they're the basis for Ubuntu, and they won't bend on the attribution thing.
Ah, so it's a philosophical issue, then- it's either Fully Free, or not included? That seems a bit extreme, to me, but it's their project. Must be reeeeeal hard for them to ship any games with their source, though, since the vast majority of them are using stuff that is, to put it bluntly, derivative. That must be why they (ubuntu) keep poking us about minor wrinkles and taking such a hard line about this.
I don't agree in the slightest with the idea that maintaining credit is difficult; the fact of the matter is that systems like Git could just as easily update a CREDITS.TXT file explicitly crediting the person who submits a commit as not. But these tools weren't available when these philosophical positions were first established, I'm guessing. To me, maintenance of credit and establishing a clean line of legality seems like it's mainly a technology problem.
At any rate, I've written the following letter to the FSF, asking them to at least provide some guidance to the public in these matters:
Dear Free Software Foundation:
Hello, my name is Greg Wolfe. I am a longtime member of the Spring Project, which is a Real-Time Strategy game engine developed and licensed under the GPL. Due to the engine's almost unique status, we are all very aware of the wrinkles of various license formats, and the subject of whether something may be distributed in XYZ manner is often a matter of discussion.
One issue that continually comes up with the GPL is that it does not explicitly require crediting the previous authors before redistributing. This is a factor that weighs fairly heavily with artists choosing a license to release under, as they strongly desire credit, as this is an important component of their career path.
Therefore, most "libre" art that is distributed digitally, whether visual or auditory, is being distributed under the Creative Commons series of licenses, which are in turn incompatible with the terms of the GPL, and therefore are generally seen as violating the terms of a Linux distribution.
This may in fact be an incorrect reading of the terms of both Licenses; a CC-NC image shipped with a package of GPL source is "mere data" after all, and does not impinge upon the License terms of the source itself, and unless the source performs a substantial modification of said data, it cannot be said to be making a derivative work (at least, that's how I'd judge that). However, the perception persists that this is not legal, and it is cause of a lot of stress and fuss in the Linux community in particular.
As I sincerely doubt that the GPL and Creative Commons licenses can be reconciled, given their disparate goals, but they both serve the cause of "libre" and an Open Source philosophical approach to distribution, if not modification (in my opinion, at least, although I am quite aware that the Free Software Foundation doesn't entirely agree with that position), please produce a legal analysis of inclusion of CC materials in GPL source distributions and provide a layman's Q&A on your website about this topic to dispel the existing confusion.
At the very least, give the Linux distributors some straightforward rules for inclusion of CC materials and release a Slashdot, so that the true position of the FSF on this issue is understood, because my impression is that all Linux distributors believe that if their entire archive isn't 100% GPL or Public Domain material, they may not distribute it at all. If the Free Software Foundation believes that these "libre" materials cannot be included in a Linux distribution even if they are "mere data", this is something worth clarifying and providing information the public, and the obverse would obviously have practical effects on policy.
I fully support the goals of the Free Software Foundation, and the Open Source movement; my goal here is to provide you folks with a chance to clarify your position to the public. I understand that the FSF cannot wave a magic wand and reconcile all possible "libre" licenses; what I am hoping will happen here is that the FSF will provide some clear guidance on this subject.
a CC-NC image shipped with a package of GPL source is "mere data"
I agree that images are usually mere data, though of course an image may itself have copyright restrictions. But the bigger question is not the icons, but the material licensed.
Thus, I found your choice of example somewhat worrisome. CC-NC is a nonfree license; -NC forbids selling, but it is widespread for GNU/Linux distributions to be sold on CD, etc. So I doubt any -NC license would be appropriate for something intended to go into a free distro.
As I said, I hope others will be able to respond to the more substantive parts of your request. I just wanted to answer what I could.
I do apologize for the specific example of CC-NC; it would have been more appropriate to cite the CC licenses specifically requiring credit, but not forbidding commercial use, such as freesound.org's use of CC sampling+.
At any rate, the comment about copyright notices is probably fairly helpful, in the context of understanding this issue. Perhaps that is enough to clarify certain aspects of this.
Actually, it looks like Debian has amended the DFSG and worked with the Creative Commons people to allow the CC-BY-SA version 3.0 (but not previous versions) to be used within the Debian repos. I don't know why they're amenable to Attribution now.
Either way, note that the FSF is not directly running Debian or CC - Debian is not strictly GPL-only, but allows GPL-like licenses - apparently somehow CC-BY-SA 3.0 is sufficiently GPL-like, and CC-SamplingPlus is not. You're probably barking up the wrong tree asking the FSF about this.
Last edited by Pxtl on 03 Mar 2010, 19:36, edited 1 time in total.
Well, they're the ultimate arbiters about what they consider to be legally kosher in regards to the GPL, so I figured it was better to talk to them about it directly and get some clarity about their position. It may be that policy within the other groups differs, of course, but I wanted to see where they feel that the line is drawn. Spring's run into issues with distro maintainers in the past for not being sufficiently adherent to the GPL, so it seemed like a good idea.
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