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Re: Mgetty should be in non-free?

On Wed, Jan 27, 1999 at 06:14:51PM +0100, Henning Makholm wrote:
> Brian Ristuccia <brianr@osiris.978.org> writes:
> > > What is the difference between "charge a fee for the physical act of
> > > transferring a copy" and "sell a copy"?
> > To sell a copy is to give the recipient all rights to the software.

I phrased this incorrectly. "To sell a software package, a book, or a movie
is to give the recipient all rights to the software package, the book, or
the movie."

> An interesting interpretation. This would mean the Microsoft are not
> selling copies of Windows, nor is the bookstore around the corner
> selling copies of any novels.

BTW: According to Microsoft, copies of Windows are never sold; They are only
licensed. But what I was getting at was that you can't sell something
(windows, mgetty, gcc, etc.), because you don't own it in the first place.
You only own the copy. Authors sell books to publishers. Publishers sell
copies of books to people.

Under copyright, all rights other than fair use are reserved unless
explicitly granted. Even the GPL does not grant you the right to sell
software. It doesn't even grant you the right to sell copies of the

>From the GPL:
> 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.

If I sell you a CD contining a copy of GCC, it looks like I'm selling you a
copy of the GCC software. In reality, I'm selling the service of making a
copy and perhaps the media the copy resides on.

> I think we should better stick to the standard notion that a "copy" is
> a physical medium containing a representation of the work, and "selling
> a copy" means transfering ownership of said physical medium in exchange
> for payment.

Let's say someone offers for sale blank CDr disks, CDr disks with random
Free Software, and CDr disks with mgetty for the same price. How do we
determine in the case of the CDr containing mgetty that it's a copy of
mgetty that's being sold and not the media or the service?

The license saying "don't make profit directly out of selling mgetty" has no
bearing on the right the license already granted to distribute mgetty, since
you don't have the right to sell mgetty itself in the first place.

Don't say "but the user should know that he means make profit from selling a
_copy_ of mgetty". If you're an author, you'll find out very painfully the
difference between selling your book and selling a copy of your book,
especially if a publisher is out to rip you off. If the author meant copy,
he should have said copy.

Brian Ristuccia

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