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Re: [OT?] Charging for source [was: Re: lynx-dev Lynxon Win32 - wireless

From: brian j pardy
Subject: Re: [OT?] Charging for source [was: Re: lynx-dev Lynxon Win32 - wireless version]
Date: Sat, 18 Dec 1999 19:16:47 -0500

On Sat, Dec 18, 1999, Klaus Weide wrote:
> On Sat, 18 Dec 1999, brian j pardy wrote:
> > On Sat, Dec 18, 1999, Klaus Weide wrote:
> > > The "you can't charge..." applies only to *that* source distribution
> > > which the *written offer* of 3b) is offering.  It doesn't apply at all
> > > to someone whose obligations under Section 3 are fulfilled by 3a) or 3c).
> > > Even if your choice for fulfilling Section 3 obligations is 3b), I don't
> > > see thats it's forbidden to have other source distributions in addition,
> > > with or without charge, high or low (the gold-plated special edition for
> > > $10000, etc).
> > 
> > If your obligations are fulfilled through 3a), it must be distributed
> > under the terms of sections 1 and 2 -- I think the key phrase is in
> > section 1: "You may charge a fee for the physical act of transferring
> > a copy, and you may at your option offer warranty protection in
> > exchange for a fee."  
> Note that there is no requirement here at all that those fees are
> "reasonable", or in any relation to costs - in strong contrast to
> Section 3b).

That's true.  It isn't explicitly stated.  We'd have to ask RMS as to
his intent, but my guess would be that were he wanting this section to
mean that you can sell it for whatever price you want, he'd have been
more explicit at it -- perhaps so as to cut down on the "but you can't
make any money with the GPL" arguments.

I considered CC'ing him on this, but...

> > Again is the physical transfer clause, but the
> > "warranty protection in exchange for a fee" may be the giant loophole
> > that says you can charge whatever you would like.
> I don't think it is a loophole.
> If we are talking about 3a), the most important word there IMO is the
> first one, "Accompany".  If someone isn't willing to pay your
> exorbitant (but allowed) fees for "transfer" or "warranty protection",
> then they don't get either, source *or* binaries.


> > However, I don't
> > think you can withhold source in the event someone doesn't want to pay
> > the warranty fee.  
> But you can withhold both, together, from anyone, for whatever reason,
> if under Section 3 you choose alternative 3a).

Right.  I was speaking more from the lines of having already provided
the binary, as ISTR this discussion got started.  

> > Warranty might be analogous to support, as Red Hat
> > does.  
> > 
> > So, I take it back, after seeing that clause.  I don't disagree with
> > you.  
> We don't have any serious disagreements.  But for the sake of further
> picking (if you think this is wrong, please show me the holes)...

If we take the position that the lack of anything resembling
"reasonable fee" in this section means one can charge anything he'd
like, then I'm in complete agreement with you.  Particularly on the
part that you're only required to distribute the source once ("make
available"), and there's no obligation after that.

> > But I don't think
> > I can NOT distribute the source to those who don't want to pay.
> You do not have ANY obligation to distribute anything, except as a
> result of choosing to "copy and distribute [...] in object code or
> executable form".   

True, again.

That's my limit on being off-topic on the list for this century, mail
me privately if you'd like to continue...

"I have two very rare photographs: one is a picture of Houdini locking
his keys in his car; the other is a rare photograph of Norman Rockwell
beating up a child."
                -- Steven Wright

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