[Foundation-l] Legal position of audio recordings of GFDL content?

Robert Rohde rarohde at gmail.com
Tue Apr 22 16:55:54 UTC 2008

On Tue, Apr 22, 2008 at 2:01 AM, David Gerard <dgerard at gmail.com> wrote:

> One important question: how do you manage GFDL on spoken text? To the
> satisfaction of, e.g., querulous Commons admins who deal with
> licensing stupidities all the time? (Geni, I'm looking at you ;-) )
> Requiring a reading of the license on the end of all audios is
> onerous. Our many spoken articles on English Wikipedia are
> (presumably) not a violation as long as they're on Wikipedia, with the
> license text a link away - but aren't really unencumbered for use
> elsewhere.
> Is the GFDL fundamentally discriminatory against the blind?
> Kat Walsh has asked licensing at fsf.org, but they tend to act like a
> Magic 8 Ball that says "read the license text and consult your
> lawyer."
> I asked about audio versions of GFDL text on the FSFE discussion list.
> One useful suggestion (from M. J. Ray) was:
> > Not in England if done to allow access by visually impaired people in
> > certain circumstances (Copyright ... Act 1988 sections 31A-31F).
> > There's probably other special cases too.
> Is there such a provision in US law? I presume there is one in other
> legal systems too.
> This in itself IMO is a strong case for porting to CC-by-sa.

The plain language of the license, i.e.:

"You may copy and distribute the Document in any medium, either
commercially or noncommercially, provided that this License, the
copyright notices, and the license notice saying this License applies
to the Document are reproduced in all copies..."

Pretty much says you can't seperate the license text from the document.  One
might even argue that the license has to be distributed within the file as
the material it applies to.  I'd say that these terms are at least as
onerous for images as it is for audio (maybe even worse).

That said, if we've waited this long already, then I think it is worth
waiting to see what GFDL 1.3 provides.

-Robert Rohde

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