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Re: lynx-dev Re: Licensing Lynx (fwd)

From: Brett Glass
Subject: Re: lynx-dev Re: Licensing Lynx (fwd)
Date: Sun, 26 Sep 1999 22:01:31 -0600

At 10:27 AM 9/26/99 +0100, David Woolley wrote:

>Unfortunately the copyright status is not clean as there is no single
>legal person that owns the copyright.

Worse still, the license under which Lynx is CLAIMED to be distributed
cannot be applied to several parts of it. So, one might say, it is
"out of control" -- there IS no license, really.

>   To produce a proprietory (which
>is not necessarily the same as commercial) version of Lynx you will 
>almost certainly either have to go back about five years or more to
>when Kansas was the sole copyright owner (W3C having disclaimed copyright
>to the maximum extent permitted by law), or you will have a big job
>identifying and extracting material that remains under the GPL.

To apply the word "commercial" to code which is GPLed is, alas,
an oxymoron.

Anything distributed under the GPL cannot be commercial, because the
entity that distributes it cannot license the code itself; it does not
own it. It can only create copies of the code.

>As I said before, commercial versions can exist, but there is no legal
>barrier to competition using the same source code.

We would need to produce a true commercial version, which is to say
that we'd need to have exclusive rights to some of the code. Otherwise,
we could not recover our development costs.

>   If you can construct
>a valid business model based on support or customer loyalty, you might
>still be able to use Lynx.

We would hope that our code would be good enough that it would require
little or no support. As for relying on "customer loyalty;" a GPLed
product must be available at no charge, so most of the users (if not
all of them) would not even be customers.

Again, we need to create commercial code, not GPLed code.


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