DRAFT FAQ: Free vs. Open

Philippe Verdy verdy_p at wanadoo.fr
Fri Jan 11 05:54:58 UTC 2008

> De : Matthew Flaschen [mailto:matthew.flaschen at gatech.edu]
> Envoyé : vendredi 11 janvier 2008 06:10
> À : License Discuss
> Objet : Re: DRAFT FAQ: Free vs. Open
> Philippe Verdy wrote:
> > by providing only an extract of it without also giving the full
> > text (it may have happened in some discussion mails or negociations, but
> not
> > in the deliverable products).
> Quoting a section to discuss it is fair use, and not a problem.  Yes, I
> know there's no fair use in France, but the FSF still isn't going to sue
>  you for it.

"Fair use" is not relevant for documents that are text only.

This document type is governed by the artistic rights, and in this case,
there's a legal right of citation for illustrative purpose and discussions.
We can then
* extract any small parts of the text to discuss it, as long as we cite the
author and source of publication, and do not change the meaning or words
within sentences (under citation right) and don't give false attributions.
* and we are allowed to reproduce it fully, as long as we respect the
copyright statements and the granted rights on the text (these rights are
granted only on the verbatim text of the licence itself, excluding all
modifications, and only for the usage described in the licence, i.e. as a
required delivery along with the conveying of GPL-covered products).

No need to refer to "fair use" here: the "fair use" exclusion in US applies
to the reproduction of very significant parts of an artistic work or design
and goes much beyond the simple right of citation.

The "right of citation" is MUCH more limited than "fair use" and normally
gives many more requirements, including the need to respect the work and its
author by not commenting the citation with interpretations that are not
desired or authorized by the author. (In addition, you cannot cite or
photograph someone from a non-publicly disclosed publication authorized by
the author, without violating secrets or intimacy of the author, even if
this citation is very small, because this would violate the privacy of
communications, and even if this citation or photography is apparently not
damaging the reputation of that person: only that person can decide about

French courts are full of many legal actions made by people protecting their
work or privacy, and they win very often in such actions against some
wellknown newspapers, magazines and "paparazzi", or against employers, and
violation of privacy also invalidates many procedures where "proofs" were
illegally collected or used against their authors.

However you can oppose your own arguments with your own words; the citation
right is generally used for illustration purpose in France, but it's
difficult to use it for opposing a contradiction or infirming an author,
without also giving back to this contradicted author a free (gratis,
uncensored and verbatim) "right of response" through the same mean of

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