I completely disagree. Someone has the right to ask that no one edit an opinion piece they wrote. They may not want to chance being misrepresented and that is a totally valid reason to have a license that does not allow derivatives.
If Alice wrote a piece that Bob edits and runs without warning under Alice’s name, he’s going to be liable for some kind of tort.
Isn’t the risk of being misrepresented the same with software though? See e.g. the history of cdrtools.
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What if the author is dead, or unreachable? Or maybe doesn’t want his work translated, out of spite? To me it’s unacceptable to use copyright law to stop the march of culture.
What if the author is dead
It would be even harder for them to let people know that an adaption of their work has misrepresented them.
Copyright is the will of the author. That’s pretty great. If I am an asshole who doesn’t want to share my work, or let you derive it, or translate it, or fix a typo and redistribute, then that’s my prerogative, not yours.
If the author is dead, then well, you might be out of luck until it becomes public domain after how ever many years Mickey Mouse has decided that is now, or something.
The article mentions free-software and free-culture worlds being a bit different, which I agree with, but on this point, I notice it’s even fairly common for people in more of the free-culture world to be less enthusiastic about free licenses for opinion type works. For example, plenty of people who contribute to Wikipedia and OpenStreetMap also write essays or books about those projects and don’t freely license them, or in some cases do use a Creative Commons license but one of the more restrictive ones (like a non-commercial or noderivs one). Of course some people do also license their opinion works under something like CC-BY or CC-BY-SA. But plenty seem to see a distinction, something like editing a collaborative project that provides a public service (freely licensed) versus an idiosyncratic personal expression of opinion (not freely licensed). This doesn’t imply that the argument in this article is wrong, of course, just an observation.
the FSF’s insistence … is a hindrance to spreading the message of free software.
The general pattern!
there are so many ways to misrepresent what someone said without making a derivative work that preventing misrepresentation is a preposterous reason to prefer no-derivatives licenses.
This is the “something worse is happening so something bad should be permissible” argument.
It’s even entirely plausible that the work can be improved in some way; perhaps there’s an embarrassing typo that the original author isn’t fixing for some reason
The author is responsible for making his work free of critical errors. Small errors like typo isn’t worth the risk of having people misrepresent your position.