[Mailman-Users] Using mailman output in web page documentation

Mark Sapiro mark at msapiro.net
Thu Dec 17 23:47:09 EST 2015

On 12/17/2015 02:57 PM, Adrian Pepper wrote:
>  I found it convenient to use mechanical dumps of mailman pages in attempting
>  to create some moderator documentation, intended primarily for local use
>  at the university where I work.
>  Such dumped pages do not contain any formal copyright/left statement beyond
>      alt="GNU's NOT Unix"
>  1. Is there a suitable comment one could/should (should not?) add to
>     attribute the source of such excerpts to GNU (GFDL?).

I am neither a lawyer nor an expert in free/open source licenses, so
take this with a grain of salt.

Mailman is produced by the GNU Mailman project which is a GNU project.
As such, the Mailman developers have assigned copyright to the Free
Software Foundation and Mailman is distributed and licensed under the
GPL (v2 for Mailman 2.1).

Section 0. of the GPL says

  0. This License applies to any program or other work which contains
a notice placed by the copyright holder saying it may be distributed
under the terms of this General Public License.  The "Program", below,
refers to any such program or work, and a "work based on the Program"
means either the Program or any derivative work under copyright law:
that is to say, a work containing the Program or a portion of it,
either verbatim or with modifications and/or translated into another
language.  (Hereinafter, translation is included without limitation in
the term "modification".)  Each licensee is addressed as "you".

Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are not
covered by this License; they are outside its scope.  The act of
running the Program is not restricted, and the output from the Program
is covered only if its contents constitute a work based on the
Program (independent of having been made by running the Program).
Whether that is true depends on what the Program does.

The HTML produced by Mailman's CGI modules does contain lots of literal
strings (or translations thereof) which are part of the program, so it
is at least arguable that this HTML is a derivative work.

Thus, I think a brief statement to the effect that this HTML is
copyright by the Free Software Foundation, Inc. and licensed under the
GPL would be appropriate

Mark Sapiro <mark at msapiro.net>        The highway is for gamblers,
San Francisco Bay Area, California    better use your sense - B. Dylan

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