[NOT PD]Question about Legal Documents and other licenses

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Post by cmdor » June 16th, 2020, 6:12 pm

Hello everyone! I would like to record the GNU General Public License https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-3.0.txt. It is often distributed as a part of the documentation for free software, and it begins with the line
Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.
The text is not quite in public domain, however it is allowed to be posted and redistributed. So an audio recording would be allowed as long as it is not changed. My question is whether this is ok to post on LibriVox because it is also a legal document, and we also encourage use of free software like Audacity, which falls under the GPL.

For a follow up question, do all disclaimer and copyright notices belong in the public domain? Because there are a few more I'd like to read, like the Apple and Google terms and conditions. If you can't tell, I'm pretty interested in copyright law, which is part of why I'm here in the first place :lol:

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Post by TriciaG » June 16th, 2020, 6:17 pm

We're not lawyers, nor do we have any on retainer.

I'd be very leery of doing any company TOS, such as Apple. And I'd want to see something like the GNU license copyright-cleared through Project Gutenberg, to be certain it's PD.

Here's a link to copyright info on PG, including explanations and how to submit for clearance: https://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Gutenberg:Copyright_How-To

We'd still have to have the argument about whether these texts are "traditionally published"...
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Post by cmdor » June 16th, 2020, 8:53 pm

On second look, it looks like a recording could be made, but part of being in public domain means that it can be used for any purpose. The kicker here is that "Project Gutenberg only accepts items that we have confirmed to not be protected by copyright in the United States"

GPL does not fall under public domain because it is protected by US copyright law. For example, derivative works must also be released under the same license. The beginning statement "All recordings are in the public domain" does not apply. The Free Software Foundation has taken people to court over the license not transferring, so it's probably best to play it safe and not post here, although it would be legal for a full recording to exist.

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Post by MichaelMaggs » June 17th, 2020, 3:13 am

No, it's not allowed precisely for the reason you mention: that the document itself is not in the public domain. Public domain means that any re-use is allowed, including modifications. A text that permits public distribution subject to some condition is not in the public domain, and Librivox has never allowed such uploads.

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