Attribution Notices

Lawrence Rosen lrosen at
Fri Jan 27 18:29:56 UTC 2006

I'm resetting the subject. Was "GPLv3" but this particular email had little
to do with it.

> On Thu, 26 Jan 2006, Rick Moen wrote:
> >   That other bit about fixed attributions making a work 
> non-free/proprietary 
> >   is one reason why, although I'm a long-time subscriber to 
> debian-legal, 
> >   I only rarely read it, in order to safeguard my blood 
> pressure: Author 
> >   attributions may not be stripped in derivative works by 
> _default action 
> >   of copyright law_, so it is utter lunacy to assert, as 
> poster Garrett 
> >   and numerous others do, that clauses to that same effect 
> make the work 
> >   non-free through it "failing the Chinese Dissident Test". 
> > 
> >   That is a perfect example of the aforementioned problem of certain
> >   posters being context-challenged and ignorant of the law. 
> Copyright law protects someone who wants to be attributed.  
> The Chinese Dissident Test protects someone who doesn't.  
> They're both about attribution, but about very different 
> aspects of it.
> They have nothing to do with each other.

I'm now very confused. Is there some specific issue about attribution
notices that is causing problems at Debian? Who is this hypothetical Chinese
dissident we're supposed to be worrying about? How does this all affect our
review of proposed licenses?

It turns out that certain kinds of attribution notices do cause heartburn
for some open source denizens. Are you familiar with Exhibit B in


** Lawrence Rosen
** Rosenlaw & Einschlag, technology law offices
** Stanford University School of Law, Lecturer in Law
** 3001 King Ranch Road, Ukiah, CA 95482
** 707-485-1242  *  fax: 707-485-1243
** Author of "Open Source Licensing: Software Freedom
**    and Intellectual Property Law" (Prentice Hall 2004)
** [] 

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