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Re: Mgetty should be in non-free?

On Thu, Jan 28, 1999 at 12:51:39AM +0100, Henning Makholm wrote:
> Brian Ristuccia <brianr@osiris.978.org> writes:
> > 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.
> [stuff deleted]
> Then the author speaks about "selling mgetty" he could either mean
> 1. "selling the intellectual rights to mgetty" - which is clearly
>    ridiculous because the author himself is the only one who can
>    logically sell them, so he would'nt speak about the sale in
>    the second person.
> 2. "selling a copy of mgetty" - which makes perfect sense.
> I don't think you get anywhere by insisting that the least meaningful
> sense is what is meant. It certainly won't impress the judge when/if
> the mgetty author sues someone who sells faxmodems with mgetty copies.

Decisions made by sympathetic judges based on omissions in license
agreements like the one that accompanies mgetty are why real software
licenses are written by lawyers, not programmers.

As per my previous argument, it's very difficult to tell if you're selling a
copy of the software, or selling your media and duplication services. At the
least, someone should contact the author of mgetty to get him to adjust his
license. As it currently stands it fails to fully protect his rights, and
also fails to provide unambiguous and indisputable permission for Debian to
distribute the software under all circumstances as required by the DFSG.

Brian Ristuccia

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