Copyright issues re Debian website

Barak A. Pearlmutter barak at
Tue Mar 11 22:29:35 UTC 2008

I'm going to chime in to support Bruce here.

Everyone, including Bruce, *agrees* that it is *best* and *safest* to
get explicit assignments or explicit relicense permission.  All the
official legal advice being tossed about is saying exactly that.  But
none of it has said that, in a pinch, when that isn't feasible, you
can't do a relicense on content contributed to a site.  In fact, as
far as I can tell, companies do that all the time, eg with comments on
blogs and such.

Within the free <stuff> world, I believe that wikipedia did such a
copyright change, from GFDL+cover_text to plain GFDL.  I do not recall
any attempt to obtain explicit permission from all contributors.  I
would imagine wikipedia has ready access to legal council.

I'd futher note that, with products of "joint authorship", like a
journal paper with multiple authors, I've been informed that license
to publish can be granted by *one* of the authors alone.  This is
common in academia, which is how I know about it.  (If one author does
so without consulting the others he'd might be considered a "jerk",
but that's another matter.)

So it doesn't seem so clear to me that Bruce is wrong about this.

Just sayin',

Barak A. Pearlmutter
 Hamilton Institute & Dept Comp Sci, NUI Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland

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