licensing of Lojban texts

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The LLG has always stated that materials should be placed in the public domain, in a manner akin to Open Source.

An issue I (Nick Nicholas) have raised is whether this extends to modification of texts by third parties.

  • emf:
    • What license, if any, is this content availiable under? May I print copies freely?
      • As of this writing (2002-12-4), http://opencontent.org/openpub/ , without exercising Option B (i.e. reproduction for commercial gain is allowed). I am debating with John whether to exercise Option A (John against, me for but willing to be convinced otherwise.) Until we come to agreement, I'd default to exercising A (no substantial alteration without our approval.) I will incorporate the wording of the Open content license into the brochure as of the next edition.
        • Adam:
          • If you decide to exercise Option A, would that allow strict translations without explicit permission? How about translations which are adapted to the target language/culture? I suppose it may be a non-issue, since you will almost certainly give permission anyway.
            • la nitcion:
              • Not a non-issue, because of course I will, but I would like the moral authority to protest some changes. I encourage adaptation; but I would like to know what's happening, so I can confirm this conforms to the spirit. I would deem Opt A as allowing strict translations without explicit permission, and loose translations with explicit permission. I think this should go to the list, though.
                • Adam:
                  • 1) I'm curious, are you worried that someone might slip in descriptions of something non-baseline compliant, or even prescribe them? 2) What does Robin Turner think about this (Option A)? 3) I think you should take it to the list, since I don't know what you want to ask.
                    • la nitcion:
                      • (1) Yes. I know this is being paranoid. Then again, I thought Jorge's Spanish gloss of xruti was really bad precedent (sorry xorxes). (2) My coeditor for this work is John Cowan, and I have asked him. (I think the insistence for the lessons would be much less, since they are nowhere near as normative a text as this.) If it is argued that Opt A contravenes the Open Source spirit of Lojban, I will withdraw my stipulation. I would like a compromise ("if no permission to modify in translation, go ahead, but state you had no permission.") (3) If enough people think I should, I'll go to list; but I'm waiting for John's opinion first.
                        • Sorry, I got confused between this and the lessons, but in any case parts of this booklet were originally written by other people (Lojbab, John Cowan, Robin), if I'm not mistaken, and you are updating it and making it coherent. Are you going to seek their permission if someone requests permission to modify the parts that they originally contributed? Are you going to seek all their opinions on whether to exercise Opt A? You have a license to modify the text from them, and I think that that should be passed on.
                          • You might, God forbid, drop out of lojban, and the lojban community may want to update level 0 again, but won't be able to reach you to obtain permission. This could cause a major problem if you exercised Opt A.
                            • Note that Jorge, arch-anti-fundamentalist though he may be, was not being contrary. When there was an outcry, he added a note in the Spanish with the official definition, and he translated xruti into Esperanto agentively (x1 (aganto) redonas x2-on al elira/antauxa stato x3 elde x4). In short, you don't have people in the community who are purposely trying to be subversive about official documents, so I don't think that you have any empirical reason to be worried.
                              • I'm not sure why this is so much more normative than other documents; it doesn't officially define anything, it is just an introduction for newbies. The word lists, with the actual definition of the language, are much more normative, and they're in the public domain for ideological reasons.
                                • You of course still have moral authority to request that people notify you of changes, and can require that modified versions not explicitly approved be marked as such, and I'm sure you'll get full compliance. I do think that requiring explicit permission to modify the document goes against the free nature of lojban and its history (cp. the word lists and machine grammar), and so I encourage you not to exercise Opt A.
                                • Also, note the license for modifications of (any part of) CLL in its license on the title page: "'Permission is granted to copy and distribute modified versions of this book, provided that the modifications are clearly marked as such, and provided that the entire resulting derived work is distributed under the terms of a permission notice identical to this one."
                                • Also, if you morally protest some changes by someone, they will almost certainly respect your wishes and change it; we don't have hostile people here.
  • Adam:
    • If JCB had allowed free copying but not modifications, he could have still bullied lojbab et al. with his copyright, saying that they were changing the language, and so I think that merely guaranteeing rights of free copying is not the level of freedom that lojban should have.
      • Arguments accepted, especially since (a) the license does say anyway that mods without permission must not be taken as implying author consent anyway; (b) the copyright holder is going to be the LLG; (c) any translation of anything baseline or otherwise certified, per the statement, is subject to a separate compliance review. Neither John nor I seek to exercise Option A. Once we formally turn copyright over to the LLG (which I'll have to find out how to do), review becomes an LLG task anyway.