definition of "use"
Greetings(Please be sure to CC me!),
First, my apologies for not joining the conversation around the time
that it transpired, but it was not until recently that I had noticed it.
Second, my apologies to Mr. Welch for suffering from the controversy
created by the license that I wrote.
That's right, it's me, "random Joe off the street" as Mr. Palmer put it.
And, yes, IANAL(Of course IANAL. Lawyers would not consider brevity to
be a value in an instrument, and for good reason, I know(Despite the
lack of any indication of such knowledge). ;).
Before I get into any details, this discussion is about the definition
of the word 'use' in the context of copyright law (U.S.C. Title 17),
and perhaps whatever extra insights the connotations of the fair license
might provide within its single, compound sentence.
This license hangs on the idea that the definition of the word 'use' in
the context of copyright law is as follows:
6: (law) the exercise of the legal right to enjoy the benefits
of owning property; "we were given the use of his boat"
(From WordNet 2.0)
(dict.org, dict use, also google'ing will reveal it in other areasof the
There are, obviously, many other definitions for the word 'use', and I
am not sure if this is the accepted definition within copyright law. I
admit that that is an assumption that I made. Although, throughout
debian-devel and debian-legal's criticisms of this license, I have seen
nothing but statements that do not even consider that as a possibility,
and all without giving references to resources that would further
substantiate their position by showing 'use' not does mean the above.
Mostly, "It doesn't specifically specify, therefore it doesn't include."
*If* this is the accepted definition of the word 'use' within the
context copyright law, then there is should be no shadows of doubt that
this is not a free license, as the enjoyment of the benefits of owning
copyrighted works should include the exclusive rights granted by Title
17 Chapter 1, as those are the benefits of ownership.
(I know, pretty big if.)
So, if one is to continue entertaining the idea that the fair license is
not a free license, then they must hold true that the above is *not* the
definition of 'use' in the context of copyright law. If that is the
case, what is the definition of the word 'use' in the context of
copyright law? If you feel compelled to provide an answer, please
provide the source of the definition as well.
I am very interested in knowing the truth here.
(Conclusion after responses)
> On Sun, Mar 06, 2005 at 07:59:11AM +0100, Bernd Eckenfels wrote:
> > In article <20050306054847.GC22549@hezmatt.org> you wrote:
> > > That licence does not grant any permission to modify,
> > > redistribute, or otherwise deal in the work in a Free manner. For
> it to be
> > > judged as satisfying the Open Source Definition is ludicrous.
The ludicrousness of the idea depends entirely on one's definition of
the word 'use'.
> > Are you an Laywer, is that based on research?
> No, and yes.
What research did you do? Can you provide specific references to the
resources that favor your position?
> > I mean, for me "Use" of source code does include all those freedoms.
> That's nice. But irrelevant. The fair licence doesn't even require
> code, so it can quite easily apply to a work for which there is no
And the problem is?
> In the past, some copyright holders have decided to interpret even
> widely-known and free licences like the MIT licence in non-free ways
> pine), so having the wording of a licence be explicit and clear is a
> definite advantage. This licence is neither.
This only reaffirms my resolve to test this license. Anything can be
misinterpreted. Even books with thousands of pages. Don't make me give
the obvious examples.
The fair license simply provides less to be misinterpreted; thus the
beauty of it.
> > Therfore I feel like accepting OSI's decision and accepting the fact
> that it
> > is free.
> I feel like an icecream sundae.
Perhaps you should join the license-discuss list and participate.
While the length of my response might not indicate it, I am not married
to this license. I wrote it in an attempt to create a *very* concise
authorization of I.P. use. BSD and MIT licenses satisfy my needs, save
brevity and generality. For instance, BSD and MIT refer to 'source
code', 'software', and 'documentation', which I would gather refer to
"computer programs", but how do images and other kinds of works fall
into those terms(I guess SVG might fall into source code ;)? What if I
wanted to "open source" other kinds of works? I thought it would be more
fitting to have a license that actually uses the terminology of the laws
that specify the restrictions of the granted exclusive rights. It really
is a shame that 'use' is not defined in Title 17.
The only useful conclusion that I have been able to directly draw from
these discussions is that it is not *self evident* that 'use'
constitutes the exercising/enjoyment of the bundle of rights given to
the owner of copyrighted works by U.S.C. Title 17 Chapter 1.
So, what is the definition of the word 'use'? Does it *only* mean to
execute a program? Or to *only* read a book? Or to *only* listen to that
Anyways, I'm getting too tired to think; perhaps when I hear back, I
will have more positions and points. That is, if you or someone else
doesn't provide something fatal.
Regards, James William Pye