[ZDP] OpenContent issues

Jimmie Houchin jhouchin@texoma.net
Tue, 18 May 1999 20:06:56 -0500

At 10:09 AM -0500 5/18/99, Howard Clinton Shaw III wrote:
>On Tue, 18 May 1999, Robert O'Connor wrote:
>> Jimmie wrote:
>> > Some thoughts about solutions.
>> > Alot of what happens is someone comes up with some documentation and posts
>> > it to the list. From that point it is read modified, corrected, etc. by
>> > alot of people. If the documents creator would initially place this
>> > document under "Open Content" just like "Open Source" and "GPL" have their
>> > licenses clearly placed in the beginning of the document, then all future
>> > collaborators would be understand the legal position of the document. This
>> > would explicitly state a documents license and hopefully avoid any of the
>> > above issues.
>> Another way to avoid putting "Open Content...." at the beginning of
>> EVERY document: Put a public notice on the ZDP
>> home page:  "All documents licenced as Open Content....
>> Unless otherwise noted....etc"
>> and since contributions are made thru the ZDP list,  The footer at
>> the end of EVERY message can be modified to also say:
>> "Open Content..bla bla bla.".   (Footers are automatically generated).
>I suspect that to do that legally would mean modifying the email that the
>mailing list manager sends out, saying "You have requested to join the
>ZDP@list, reply to verify, etc" to say "You have requested to join, etc. By
>replying to this email you are agreeing that all content posted to this
>list is
>licensed for use under the Open Content license."
>And then, of course, you would need the consent of all individuals
>currently on
>the list. Probably, legally speaking, it would be best to empty the list, and
>resend each prior member of the list, the standardized list request form. Then
>anyone who does not agree, does not have to rejoin the list.
>I am not saying this is best, but I am saying that just putting an "Open
>Content" footer on all messages has NO legal impact, since you can't force any
>individual to give up his copyright. What you can do, is make joining the list
>a contractual act, such that it constitutes agreement to a contract permitting
>all missives to be licensed under the Open Content license.
>Of course, IANAL.

I agree. I do not believe that you legally deny copyright simply due a
footer on something. As far as I know ownership of copyright must be
explicitly not implicitly renounced.

I am personally not in favor of restricting all content to being "Open
Content". I think it would be wonderful if all of it was.

If Michel or whomever wishes to submit for peer review documentation,
articles, book material it should not be required that all of their
submissions be "Open Content". The goal of ZDP isn't a political one, but a
practical one. Simply put, documenting Zope.

Zope documentation whether copyrighted or Open Content benefits the
community. We all have the opportunity to learn and grow, regardless of the
motive of the author or the beliefs of the author.

I have close to 3-4000 books in my home, so copyrighted material doesn't
bother me. I personally would by a Zope book in a heart beat.

Restricting material to open content only will dramatically restrict the
ZDP community in similar ways that Digital Creations probably believed that
required attribution would have. Many won't contribute, but only
participate to take.

I really don't think a simple line like below is to obtrusive.

Copyright, Open Content http://zdp.zope.org/open_content

That simple single line would let someone know that this is a special
document if they are knowledgeable of Open Content, if not the URL will
provide what ever information they need.

The licensing would then be explicit.

Alternatively, if we have the initial thread/document begin with an Open
Content disclaimer and a subject like:

[ZDP] OC: Understanding ZClasses

The OC disclaimer would only be in the initial message and the subject
would carry the information.

I don't mind reducing clutter, but we need to make sure our bases are
covered and contributors have an understanding as to the copyright
situation of the specific document they are contributing to without brute
force regulations as to all documents are Open Content.

Enough rambling for now.

Jimmie Houchin

>> What I'm suggesting is to avoid clutter in the documents --
>> Just the meat -- no packaging!
>> -Bob OConnor bob@rocnet.com
>Howard Clinton Shaw III - Grum
>St. Thomas High School
>#include "disclaimer.h"