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Debate: GFDL

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Is the GFDL a good free content license?

Contents

Background and Context of Debate:

From GFDL:

The GNU Free Documentation License (GNU FDL or simply GFDL) is a copyleft license for free documentation, designed by the Free Software Foundation (FSF) for the GNU project. It is the counterpart to the GNU General Public License that gives readers the same rights to copy, redistribute and modify a work and requires all copies and derivatives to be available under the same license. Copies may also be sold commercially, but, if produced in larger quantities (greater than 100), the original document or source code must be made available to the work's recipient.

The GFDL was designed for manuals, textbooks, other reference and instructional materials, and documentation which often accompanies GNU software. However, it can be used for any text-based work, regardless of subject matter. For example, Wikipedia uses the GFDL for all of its text.

The Debian project and Nathanael Nerode have raised objections to the license. Debian developers eventually voted to consider works licensed under the GFDL to comply with their Debian Free Software Guidelines provided the invariant section clauses are not used. These critics recommend the use of alternative licenses such as the share-alike Creative Commons licenses, the BSD Documentation License, or even the GNU GPL. They consider the GFDL a non-free license. The reasons for this are that the GFDL allows "invariant" text which cannot be modified or removed, and that its prohibition against digital rights management (DRM) systems applies to valid usages, like for "private copies made and not distributed".

This debate asks whether the GFDL is a good free content license. The GFDL is used by the largest free content site, Wikipedia.

For further information about any of the question, please click on the Image:Book.gif icon.

Is the GFDL a free content license when used without invariant sections?

Sites like Wikipedia use the GFDL without invariant sections. When the GFDL without invariant sections it means that you can copy GFDL work as long as you meet some conditions. This includes distributing the full GFDL.
END

Yes

  • It meets the four freedoms needed for free content. It allows commercial use, non commercial use and derivative works and verbatim copies.




No

  • It does not meet the four freedoms needed for free content. It allows commercial use, non commercial use and derivative works and verbatim copies except for with the text of the license, which much be redistributed with the copy. As a result, the GFDL is non free.





Should the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike licenses be made compatible with the GFDL?

Yes

Click on the pencil icon and research and write arguments here





No

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Is the GFDL a free content license when used with invariant sections?

Yes

  • It meets the four freedoms needed for free content. It allows commercial use, non commercial use and derivative works and verbatim copies. It just requires a small amount of text is distributed with it.






No

  • It does not meet the four freedoms needed for free content. It allows commercial use, non commercial use and derivative works and verbatim copies except for with the text of the license and the invariant section, which much be redistributed with the copy. As a result, the GFDL is non free.





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