License for a document or presentation?

Rod Dixon, J.D., LL.M. rod at
Fri Apr 9 19:22:51 UTC 2004

I have often wondered whether the principles supporting licensing documents differed from software, and these comments provide me the opportunity to ask that question here. 

Given that, unlike what is typical of software, access to the underlying ideas in a document are as accessible as the expression and that copyright infringement is not the same as plagiarism, does the use of licenses to distribute text cut against the goals of open source more than it supports it? Compare, for example, the use of a book, newspaper, or magazine article (as a copyrighted work) with software.  Are we promoting the idea that all text should be licensed? Isn't this the regretable trend that has captured all software? When the ideas are freely accessible doesn't that reduce (albeit, not eliminate) the benefit of using an open source license? 

- Rod Dixon

-----Original Message-----
From:  Lawrence E. Rosen
Date:  4/9/04 12:07 am
To:  'Steve Thomas', 'License Discussion Open Source'
Subj:  RE: License for a document or presentation?

The Open Software License (OSL) and the Academic Free License (AFL) work
perfectly well for documentation. I usually use the AFL for my documents and
presentations, or the OSL if I don't want anyone to make proprietary
derivative works. 

By the way, slide presentations are software, not that it matters as far as
the license is concerned. :-)

/Larry Rosen

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Steve Thomas [mailto:steve at] 
> Sent: Thursday, April 08, 2004 10:52 AM
> To: License Discussion Open Source
> Subject: License for a document or presentation?
> Is there an existing OS license that would fit licensing a slide 
> presentation to Open source?  I have a slide show I use for making 
> presentations on Open Source around the country, and it 
> occurs to me it 
> should be Open Source!  But I don't know how to license it, 
> since it's 
> not a code.
> =Steve=
> --
> license-discuss archive is at

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