[tei-council] Fwd: kibitzing

Gabriel Bodard gabriel.bodard at kcl.ac.uk
Thu Sep 29 13:37:28 EDT 2011

Did we decide against multi-licensing? (I've lost track of the early 
parts of this discussion.)

If there's no problem with licensing a text under both CC and BSD (say), 
which would allow a potential re-user to choose under which license she 
wants to re-use it, couldn't we just license the whole shebang under all 
three licenses (LGPL, BSD, CC), and say somewhere explicitly in text 
that people who want to re-use text or data-like things should use one 
of the appropriate licenses (or just CC), and those who want to use the 
code and software-like things should use the appropriate licenses (or 
just BSD, although we've now let LGPL a bit out of the bag, no?).

This means that someone who is using one of our outputs that is 
somewhere in the grey area, where Lou, for example thinks it is source 
code (and therefore software) and I think it is source (and therefore 
data), can decide what sort of re-use they're going to make of it and 
therefore which license is appropriate to them. (I think I agree with 
Piotr that most things, even if they are in a shade of grey, can be 
agreed to be either more like text/data or more like code/software.)

Did we have a compelling argument against multi-licensing like this?


On 2011-09-29 18:28, Martin Holmes wrote:
> I agree wholeheartedly with the comments on the LGPL here, but I'm not
> sure that there IS a licence that's "conceived and formulated to apply
> to natural language texts" other than the CC licences, and those are
> absolutely unsuitable for code. On the other hand, BSD is in no way (as
> far as I can see) unsuitable for texts, and is truly permissive in the
> way we wish it to be.
> Cheers,
> Martin
> On 11-09-29 07:29 AM, Unsworth, John M wrote:
>> Sharing an informed opinion contrary to my earlier advice on licensing....
>> John
>> Begin forwarded message:
>>> From: "C. M. Sperberg-McQueen"<cmsmcq at blackmesatech.com>
>>> Subject: kibitzing
>>> Date: September 29, 2011 3:40:16 AM CDT
>>> To: John Unsworth<unsworth at uiuc.edu>
>>> Cc: "C. M. Sperberg-McQueen"<cmsmcq at blackmesatech.com>
>>> John,
>>> please forgive this observation, which is impertinent in the historical sense:
>>> the issue is non of my business, and it's not my decision.  So delete this
>>> mail and ignore it, if you wish.
>>> but I've been chatting with Piotr Banski, here at this conference, and he
>>> tells me the TEI seems to moving toward a decision to make all TEI
>>> materials available under the LGPL.  this seems to me ill advised, not
>>> because i have any reservations about open source but because the LGPL
>>> is not formulated in a way that makes sense for human-readable documents
>>> as opposed to executable code.  i have occasionally had occasion to
>>> try to understand what the LGPL might mean, when applied to natural
>>> language texts, and my conclusion has invariably been that the idea
>>> is incoherent.
>>> the practical effect in the particular cases i've been involved with is that
>>> i have not used the material after all, because i could not bring myself
>>> to use a license did not seem to apply either to the material being
>>> licensed or to any use I might make of it.  a license which does not
>>> clearly convey permission to use the material in the intended way
>>> does not effectively perform the job of a license.  i believe i am not the
>>> only reader of English who finds LGPL unclear when applied to natural
>>> language documents (in my case, 'incomprehensible' would be
>>> nearer the mark).
>>> if you want TEI documentation to be available for reuse, please use
>>> a license conceived and formulated to apply to natural language
>>> texts.
>>> --
>>> ****************************************************************
>>> * C. M. Sperberg-McQueen, Black Mesa Technologies LLC
>>> * http://www.blackmesatech.com
>>> * http://cmsmcq.com/mib
>>> * http://balisage.net
>>> ****************************************************************
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Dr Gabriel BODARD
(Research Associate in Digital Epigraphy)

Department of Digital Humanities
King's College London
26-29 Drury Lane
London WC2B 5RL

Email: gabriel.bodard at kcl.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)20 7848 1388
Fax: +44 (0)20 7848 2980


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