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From Diana Shannon <>
Subject Re: [LAW] Quick Lesson in Copyright Law (was RE: copyright for docs [was: Re: [Bugs] URLSource])
Date Mon, 20 May 2002 16:16:19 GMT

On Monday, May 20, 2002, at 11:56  AM, Andrew C. Oliver wrote:

>> Then, in effect, the copyright terms for docs will be stricter than 
>> the revised copyright terms proposed for code, as per Stefano's email, 
>> which stated "GPL code can use Apache code". In other words, why 
>> wouldn't we want a potential GPL project to "use" (revise,  
>> distribute) Apache docs, as long as the project makes such 
>> modifications available? Why should docs be treated differently than 
>> code under Stefano's new proposal?
>   IANAL....but... to my understanding, as explained GPL 
> project could use revise, distribute Apache docs.  They're be released 
> under APL.  The difference being depending on the benevolence of many 
> individuals or the ASF itself.  For instance, currently, any docs I 
> have donated that I feel I still hold the rights to I could suddenly 
> decide all projects that distribute them (GPL or not) need to pay me a 
> nickle a copy (where copy is defined as a unique copy of my 
> documentation on any location on a hard drive.  I could require the 
> ASF, you and anyone else who downloaded Cocoon and has a copy to play 
> me for my documentation work.

No, you couldn't do this, as long as you you granted the ASF a 
"non-exclusive, irrevocable, worldwide, no-charge, transferable 
copyright license"  (as per Berin's link: In your example, 
"no-charge" and "transferable" are the key words.

We're talking about two separate copyright issues here, and it's 
potentially confusing. One is the copyright terms governing 
contributions which I believe Berin has clarified with his links. The 
other is the implications of Stefano's proposal on how documentation, 
included in Cocoon, can be used by third parties. On that issue, I'm 
still a bit confused...


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