Re: San Francisco debate heating up

From: Greg Christopher <stork_at_electronify_dot_com>
Date: Mon Mar 05 2007 - 00:14:22 CST

Hi Brian...

       I think I misread your original paragraph, which states
copying sequoia's code is legally possible with an open source
license. Of course that would be true under an open source license,
which is probably what confused me. I thought you were addressing the
insinuation that the code they now have which is not under GPL could
be copied and used for an open source system.

       Of course it's possible for Sequoia to switch to such a model.

Greg

On Mar 4, 2007, at 5:57 PM, Brian Behlendorf wrote:

>
> On Sat, 3 Mar 2007, Greg Christopher wrote:
>> Hello Brian, Alan...
>>
>> On Mar 1, 2007, at 11:31 PM, Alan Dechert wrote:
>>
>>> Brian,
>>>>
>>>> I did see the insinuation that the only reason we are
>>>> advocating Open Source is because we want to enable
>>>> someone close to us to copy Sequoia's oh-so-precious
>>>> IP for a competitive offering. But, to be honest, that is
>>>> exactly what is legally possible with an Open Source
>>>> license, ....
>>>>
>>> True. And our disclosure language does not mention "open source."
>>> It's about disclosure only.
>>
>> Wow that's an interesting point re:open source could legally copy the
>> code for use. I was not aware that copyright law wouldn't apply to a
>> public use of the source code such as deploying an open source voting
>> system. Even the GPL which promotes copying of source code seems to
>> start applying restrictions when that source code starts to get used
>> for business purposes. I would be surprised if any such usage of
>> Sequoia's source would be legal. There is some use of open source in
>> Adobe products and we need to be very careful to make sure credit is
>> given in those situations.
>
> There's a whole lot of confusion apparent in the words above.
> Copyright law
> continues to exist and be enforced just fine no matter how it's
> used. Nothing
> in the GPL prevents you from using or deploying that software for
> commercial
> use, or even redistribute for commercial purposes. It does require
> that the
> cost of redistribution of source code is no more than the cost of
> media, but
> you can still distribute GPL software with very expensive hardware
> if you'd
> like, or charge for services & support, etc. Sequoia and any other
> vendor could
> have the exact same business model they do today; all that changes
> is that
> someone else can then take their code and provide the same support
> or services.
>
> Of course the GPL is just one kind of Open Source license, and
> other Open
> Source licenses would allow for private modifications - that is,
> they are
> non-reciprocal. But, if there's a mandate that the code be
> published anyways,
> then it's not a big problem.
>
>> To really understand if it would be legal to repurpose
>> Sequoia's source I would have to read the license agreement for
>> Sequoia's system. They don't have a EULA. Thank goodness.
>
> The GPL would be that license agreement, and there can't be additional
> agreements - the GPL says it's illegal to add terms to it. So when
> someone
> says GPL, that's all you need to know about what the license terms
> are.
>
>> While I don't think it is in anyone's benefit to copy source
>> for what is basically a glorified calculator, I do think there are
>> some hours spent understanding and implementing rules based on the
>> thousands of individual governments inside the U.S., and I could see
>> where protecting that information would be important to Sequoia.
>> However, all that information is public knowledge.
>> I could think of some techniques that sequoia could use to
>> protect their "IP", for instance watermarking. However, they would
>> need a little time to be able to apply whatever techniques they
>> decided to use to their current products.
>
> Because source is disclosed, any attempt to prevent people from
> exercising
> their rights under the GPL would be likely to be easily and legally
> circumvented.
>
> Brian
>
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>

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Received on Sat Mar 31 23:17:04 2007

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