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Re: Question about GNU Free Document License


From: Alfred M\. Szmidt
Subject: Re: Question about GNU Free Document License
Date: Sat, 21 Jan 2006 00:25:54 +0100

   I have a question on the GNU Free Document License. I apologize if
   I have come to the wrong forum to discuss this (if so perhaps
   someone would be kind enough to direct me to the correct group
   should such a group exist).

This is as good a place as any if you are looking for non-legal
advice.

   I run a web site that contains a small collection of online books
   and documents that have been made available by various authors
   under the GNU Free Document License.

For my own curiosity: Could you post a URL (if you wish, you can post
it in private)?

   The author of this book recently contacted me and requested that I
   remove his book from my web site. He essentially claims that while
   the printed version of the book is released under the GNU Free
   Document License the contents of his web site (including the HTML
   version of the book) is not.

   As far as I am aware to conform with the GFDL he must make a
   "transparent" version of his book available for others to use or
   redistribute. In effect the HTML version of his book on his web
   site constitutes a "transparent" copy and by taking that content
   and putting it on my web site I am completely within the rights of
   the GFDL. I have published only the content of the book and no
   other content from this person's web site. I have also acknowledged
   this author's copyright and included the GFDL in the content of the
   book as required. I have also placed no restrictions on others
   downloading the book from my web site if they choose to do so.

   I'd be interested to hear if others share my interpretation of this
   license or if there is some clause that I have missed. Does this
   author have the right to ask me to remove his book from my web site
   or am I within my rights to decline given that the book is covered
   by the GFDL?

As you have explained it, you are allowed to keep the book on your
website.  The author has ofcourse the right to ask politley if you can
remove it, for whatever reason, but you have the legal right to
decline.  If he has good reasons why he doesn't want to have the book
on another website right now, it might be wise to listen, if he
doesn't have any reasons at all, it might be wise to not listen.  That
is, you are in full compliance with section 2 of the GFDL (as I see
it).




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