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

From: Klaus Weide
Subject: Re: [OT?] Charging for source [was: Re: lynx-dev Lynxon Win32 - wireless version]
Date: Sat, 18 Dec 1999 17:05:03 -0600 (CST)

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).

> 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).

> 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)...

> I can sell you the Lynx source for US$10000 and say I'll provide
> one 5 minute phone support session for that price. 

I'd say you can even charge me a fee of US$10000 for the physical act
of transferring a copy of the source to me, without any phony phone
charade.  But if I don't accept, then you can't give me the binary
either (not for half the price, and not for free) - always assuming
you don't choose an alternative to 3a) for fulfilling your source
distribution obligations under Section 3.

Once I have accepted your terms and have received the goods - source &
binary - your obligation to me under the license ends.  As far as I
can see.  For example, should I accidentally destroy the source tape I
got from you (but not necessarily the binary tape), you have no
obligation to give me a replacement (for fee, without fee, or at all).

> 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".   


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