[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Free World Licence possible improved structure.

Marc and others,

I've had an idea for a new Free World Licence structure.

First, I backtrack to non-contract structure. So it would have a
structure similar to the GPL. Second, I include a clause like this:

   You may not copy the Module onto a non-free platform.
   However, as an exception, you may copy the Module onto a
   non-free platform for the purpose of transmitting the
   Module to a free platform or for browsing the source code,
   provided that you do not execute the Module on the non-free
   platform, and provided that you take reasonable steps to
   ensure that the Module is not executed on the non-free

(this is not polished; I'm just trying out the idea).

So the idea is to use the power of copyright to restrict copying to
non-free platforms altogether. THEN make an offer to relax this, on
condition that the code is not executed. This is a different structure
from just saying "you are free to copy it, but you must not run it on
a non-free computer" because running a program is apparently the right
of a user who possesses a legally obtained copy and the first part
of the quoted clause creates that legal copy. In contrast, the new
clause makes the copy illegal under copyright law unless the copy was
made onto a free platform. Under those conditions, the right to run it
does not exist because it is an illegal copy. So the only way the copy
can be made onto the non-free platform is to accept the optional offer
provided in the clause.

So, for example, a company might sell a CD-ROM containing software
released under this licence. Anyone buying the CD-ROM would own
a legally obtained copy of the software - ON THE CD-ROM! But to use
it, they would have to copy the software into their computer
and this is the point when the clause kicks in.

I'm not a lawyer, so this mechanism might not be sound, but if it is
sound, it seems to me that this structure could work. Its advantages are:

   * Does not require the invocation of a contract.
   * No messy click wrap mechanisms.
   * Allows distribution using free and non-free platforms.
   * Allows non-free platform users to browse the source code.

All comments welcome. If you think this won't work, can you figure out
a way to make something similar work?



Dr Ross N. Williams (ross@rocksoft.com), +61 8 8232-6262 (fax-6264).
Director, Rocksoft Pty Ltd, Adelaide, Australia: http://www.rocksoft.com/ 
Protect your files with Veracity data integrity: http://www.veracity.com/

Reply to: