Who fancies a community effort to write a book?

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Chris Corbyn
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Post by Chris Corbyn »

Ok, so reading ~Roja's post above, I have no issue with posting out an official copyright document for all contributors to sign if and when we decide on a license to use. If anybody has something to contribute and we agree to publish it in the book we ask them to sign the paper first. Hmm... unless it can just be "signed" online?

I'll be brutally honest, I know jack-s*** about licensing so the way it's going I'll probably finish up seeing what the general feeling is, reading over the license and then giving my opinion but I say a majority vote should be the final decision maker.

Can I stress that once again, my name is not going to be on the front of this book. Nobody's name will... names will be listed *in* the book, and that's everybody who contributes content.... simple, black and white ;)

I definitely agree that a wiki is a good place to start gathering material and continually collate material (and I'm eager to start writing content :twisted: ).
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RobertGonzalez
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Post by RobertGonzalez »

Sweet. So if it is ok, I'd like to continue to throw out first draft content into the book. I have been putting in some of the preface stuff and will move into some of the other beginner material as soon as I can get around to it (unless others beat me to it).

I'd also like to chime in that this is a wonderful project that is already teaching me quite a bit. When this thing is done I am going to be insanely excited.
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Post by Roja »

d11wtq wrote:Ok, so reading ~Roja's post above, I have no issue with posting out an official copyright document for all contributors to sign if and when we decide on a license to use. If anybody has something to contribute and we agree to publish it in the book we ask them to sign the paper first. Hmm... unless it can just be "signed" online?
There is a remarkably solid balance between recognizing users (by having a credits page), and protecting the legal rights of the collective work by having copyright assigned to a few (or one) copyright holder.

As I said, its a balance in the middle, a compromise, but in my opinion, it accomplishes both critical needs: Legal protection, and recognition of authors.
d11wtq wrote:I'll be brutally honest, I know jack-s*** about licensing so the way it's going I'll probably finish up seeing what the general feeling is, reading over the license and then giving my opinion but I say a majority vote should be the final decision maker.
I would try to narrow the field, to hone the discussion. Start by asking general, sweeping questions, like "Will commercial uses of some kind be acceptable?". That could eliminate a third of the major licenses out there. Then move on to less critical subtopics, like "Can other versions of the book have changes?".

By doing so, you clarify the issues - not the license choice - which gives you the criteria that needs to be met. Then you can use those criteria to weigh your choices.

I suspect that the commercial use issue is going to be the most difficult. As mentioned previously, saying no to commerical means it can never be published and sold, it cannot be hosted on a site that uses ads to pay its bills, and so on. It couldnt even be sold on a CD. I'm not saying its an entirely unreasonable position, I am just saying to be sure to consider ALL the issues with it.
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Oren
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Post by Oren »

Roja wrote:I suspect that the commercial use issue is going to be the most difficult. As mentioned previously, saying no to commerical means it can never be published and sold, it cannot be hosted on a site that uses ads to pay its bills, and so on. It couldnt even be sold on a CD. I'm not saying its an entirely unreasonable position, I am just saying to be sure to consider ALL the issues with it.
That's not what I had in mind when I said "no commercial use" :P
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Chris Corbyn
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Post by Chris Corbyn »

Roja wrote:
d11wtq wrote:I'll be brutally honest, I know jack-s*** about licensing so the way it's going I'll probably finish up seeing what the general feeling is, reading over the license and then giving my opinion but I say a majority vote should be the final decision maker.
I would try to narrow the field, to hone the discussion. Start by asking general, sweeping questions, like "Will commercial uses of some kind be acceptable?". That could eliminate a third of the major licenses out there. Then move on to less critical subtopics, like "Can other versions of the book have changes?".
* Commercial use, as in directly copying material and selling it as if it belongs to them should NOT be permitted.... it's darn cheeky.
* Making money from learning from the book, fine by me... what the heck is it for? ;)
* Directly *referencing* content from the book in any other publications, for profit or not, fne by me.
* Directly copying material for use in other books under a free license, fine... this is a rough area to force content to stay in these realms.

It looks like some spin off-of a CC license to me... but like I say, I'm no expert.
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Maugrim_The_Reaper
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Post by Maugrim_The_Reaper »

Let's hit the copyright first... (I'm extraordinarily busy this week so forgive me for being brief)


Are there objections to a small group controlling the copyright of all contributions given the contributions will fall under a license (of a no determined type) which will prevent those copyright controllers from withdrawing the book from free public distribution. I know there are other elements that can be thrown into that statement - but I'm looking for specific issues with the core principle to start with it.

For those who take issue with such a system - are there any other conditions which would improve it as a viable course?

I am in no way advocating it at this stage (just focusing the discussion before we hit too many factors at once and we all get confused - not everyone here is copyright aware). I'm actually fairly middle of the road.
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RobertGonzalez
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Post by RobertGonzalez »

d11wtq wrote:* Commercial use, as in directly copying material and selling it as if it belongs to them should NOT be permitted.... it's darn cheeky.
* Making money from learning from the book, fine by me... what the heck is it for? ;)
* Directly *referencing* content from the book in any other publications, for profit or not, fne by me.
* Directly copying material for use in other books under a free license, fine... this is a rough area to force content to stay in these realms.
I agree with all of these points (specifically the first point... If we are making it a 'free-beer' type product, then no others should be able to repackage our product for profit). The one thing I would like to see, though I would not force the issue, is that if material is copied for use in some other media or someone else's product, that full credit be given to either A) the development team of the book or B) the contributing development team member or C) both. Otherwise, I am totally in agreement with d11's points.
Last edited by RobertGonzalez on Mon Jul 10, 2006 4:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Oren
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Post by Oren »

I don't have a problem with one or maybe several people holding the copyright as long as this is only for the record - meaning that to make a decision about something we'll have to vote (like I suggested before) and that's how we'll be making decisions.
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Oren
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Post by Oren »

Everah wrote:If we are making it a 'free-beer' type product, then no others should be able to repackage our product for profit
Haven't I said that before (twice at least)?
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RobertGonzalez
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Post by RobertGonzalez »

Yes, you have. Several members have. I am merely throwing in suggestions like the rest of us.
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Ambush Commander
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Post by Ambush Commander »

Reading ~Roja and ~Everah's post, I think that I've been mistaken. I was thinking this was going to be a "Free as in Freedom" project.

Or am I wrong?
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RobertGonzalez
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Post by RobertGonzalez »

I was thinking it would be a 'Free Beer' and 'Free Speech' sort of thing.
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Ambush Commander
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Post by Ambush Commander »

If it's free as in freedom, commercial use ought to be allowed then (the essay deals with software, but it's also applicable to text). This essay on GNU FDL specifically concerns our dilemma.

More stuff on documentation licenses.
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RobertGonzalez
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Post by RobertGonzalez »

None of the GNU licenses account for crediting the original producers of the metarial. The only real requirement in those licenses is that you have to include their license text. That seems kinda rank.

I think that in Chris' original post, he specifically mentioned that this would not be for profit or monetary gain (I forget the exact wording). Of course that doesn't mean that someone else can't totally bite our work, run it through a copier and sell the thing for goodness knows how much. I think the important thing that is coming up more and more in this thread is that folks want to make sure they get appropriate credit where credit is due. I personally would prefer to see this thing stay free for all. But if it comes down to seeing this book get sniped and sold or not produced at all, well then let them take it and sell it.

I do think, however, that there are other ways to keep most of this within the bounds of what the contributors want. We just need to explore those ways.
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feyd
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Post by feyd »

A usergroup and forum have been created for this endevour. Chris, d11wtq, is the owner of said usergroup. The board is, right now, only visible to that group and the moderators. If the group wishes to change this visibility or permissions layout, that is fine. This is just a starting point.
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