[Freedom-misc] Need help choosing a free licence for my website

mason at masonhock.com mason at masonhock.com
Sat Jan 19 23:30:47 CET 2019

 > "A cultural work does do a job"... not the spectator.

That's a good point. I do see now how one could draw a distinction between  
when the work does a job on behalf of the user/audience (e.g. a user renders  
a web page with Abrowser) and when it does a job on behalf of the author  
(e.g. RMS tries to persuade readers of the GNU Manifesto). However, if the  
user has freedom 2 (which RMS seems to believe they should) then they can  
redistribute the work to do the same job (e.g. I read the GNU Manifesto to  
someone hoping it will persuade them) or a different job (e.g. I send someone  
this video[1] hoping they will be disgusted by such obvious propaganda). With  
freedoms 1 and 3, I could modify such works to do that job better:

In the case of works of opinion, the most obviously useful modification would  
be translation into the audience's language, but I can think of others. For  
example, parts of the GNU manifesto are unclear. RMS recognizes this, and has  
annotated the work with footnotes clarifying these parts. However, the  
footnotes make it very awkward to read the work to someone, as in order to  
include them I have to interrupt reading the original, indicate to the  
listener that this is a footnote and not the next sentence, read the  
footnote, and then back up a sentence or two to remind the listener where I  
left off. I would prefer to use RMS's annotations to rewrite the unclear  
sentences so that they convey the message he intended without the footnotes.

In the case of the video I linked to, I might modify it by inserting brief  
clips that contradict some of its claims. This might not be a modification  
the original authors approve of, just as sharing it verbatim as an example of  
pro-copyright propaganda might not be a use they approve of, but what right  
to they have to control how I use a copy of information I've received,  
whether it's software or a video? (I think that this would be considered fair  
use anyway.)

It is reasonable to require me to not misrepresent the intentions of the  
original author, but the BY clause does this by requiring me to acknowledge  
that I have modified the work, so I see the ND as unnecessary in addition to  
imposing unjust restrictions.

As for works of art or entertainment, I might want to listen to some music  
recordings while driving in order to have a more pleasant drive. If the music  
has a lot of dynamic contrast it might be difficult to hear the quiet parts  
over the sound of the engine or air conditioning or external sounds,  
requiring me to constantly be adjusting the volume. I might want to modify it  
using a compressor, and perhaps share my modified version with a friend to  
use for her car drive. Or maybe I think a film has some unnecessary  
exposition that undermines suspense later in the story, so I want to cut some  
scenes before sharing it with someone so that they will find it more  
compelling. I can think of plenty of situations in which a cultural work  
could be modified by someone other than the original author to do its job  

 > But the distinction functional/nonfunctional exists, in my humble opinion.

Yeah, I do see the difference now, if I understand correctly that you are  
saying that some works do not do a job an behalf of the user/audience until  
they redistribute it, but since we are discussing terms of redistribution  I  
don't see this as affecting the ethics of the situation.

[1] https://invidio.us/watch?v=up863eQKGUI

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