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Common Lisp manual online?
- To: Masinter.pa@XEROX.ARPA
- Subject: Common Lisp manual online?
- From: "Scott E. Fahlman" <Fahlman@C.CS.CMU.EDU>
- Date: Thu, 07 Nov 1985 22:16:00 -0000
- Cc: Common-Lisp@SU-AI.ARPA
- In-reply-to: Msg of 7 Nov 1985 17:23-EST from Masinter.pa at Xerox.ARPA
- Sender: FAHLMAN@C.CS.CMU.EDU
I believe that making and distributing an online version of CLTL would,
technically, run afoul of the Digital Press copyright. However, I
recall Guy saying awhile back that Digital Press was willing to grant
permission for others to make online versions -- that they were only
interested in the book rights. I'm not sure whether Digital Press had
in mind some sort of blanket permission or just case-by-case permission.
The latter would undoubtedly involve a year-long delay while DEC's
lawyers ponder each case individually. Maybe Guy can fill us in on
where things stand as of today.
I have gradually come around to the belief (earlier expressed by
Fateman, Masinter, and others) that the Common Lisp community somehow
needs to produce a new version of the manual that would describe the
same language we all know and love (!), but that would be public domain
or owned by the Common Lisp Association (if we ever get such a thing set
up). We could then all agree that, in the case of any disagreement,
this new version is definitive. We could print this version cheaply,
distribute it at cost, and license its use to any manufacturer who
agrees to use it in ways that will not distort the language definition.
Digital Press has behaved as well as could be expected, except for their
incredible slowness in granting requests to reprint the book in various
forms, but things like this keep coming up and other manufacturers are
understandably reluctant to use a manual that says "Digital" all over
it. It was clearly (in retrospect) a bad decision to publish the
definitve manual as a normal book from a normal publisher, especially
one tied to a computer company. By now, Digital Press has received
ample reward for the risks of publishing such a book, so I don't think
there are any issues of fairness here, just legal issues.
The problem, of course, is in finding someone with both the time and
ability to write the new manual in not-for-profit mode, and in trying to
describe the same Common Lisp with the same degree of precision while
not infringing on the Digital Press copyright. That's a very tall
order. I don't think Guy could do this, even if he wanted to, since
Digital Press has the rights to any subsequent editions of the original
work done by him (though he could probably be a co-author).