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Re: Bug#168589: ITP: xfuse - a ZX Spectrum and TC2048 emulator



On Tue, Nov 12, 2002 at 11:37:59AM +0000, Colin Watson wrote:
> Hm, it seems that we're actually a surprisingly large part of the way to
> being DFSG-free here. There are two stumbling blocks:
> 
>   * There's no explicit permission to distribute as part of things that
>     aren't emulators. This is more serious than it looks:
> 
>       http://groups.google.com/groups?as_umsgid=aoweninoz-1202021254480001%40host213-1-200-120.in-addr.btopenworld.com
> 
>     This is what actually prompted creating spectrom-roms in non-free:
>     "but I have correspondence from Amstrad which clears up the fact -
>     ROMs can only be distributed for use with emulators, not actual
>     hardware." Presumably this fails DFSG 6 as I originally thought?

I would say it does indeed fail DFSG 6.  "Emulation of historical
computer platforms" is a field of endeavor.

>   * The charging thing. Upon further examination of DFSG 1, I observe
>     that it doesn't necessarily matter that Amstrad do not allow us to
>     sell the ROMs in themselves; they're happy for people to sell
>     emulators which embed the ROMs, i.e. "an aggregate software
>     distribution". Is this good enough?
> 
> Assuming my understanding is correct, what would be the best strategy
> for approaching Amstrad to make the minimal change in order to have
> Spectrum ROMs in main?

The motivation behind the prohibition of charging is probably the usual
one; the copyright holder doesn't want anyone to make a lot of money off
of the work without getting a cut.

So we have two distinct problems: the field-of-endeavor restriction and
the fee restriction.

I don't see a subtle way around the field-of-endeavor issue.  That
restriction simply has to come off for the work to be DSFG-free.

I can think of a way to serve the other goal, though; make the ZX
Spectrum ROMs a (weak) copyleft if it distributed for a fee.

	If the work is distributed to a receipient for a fee, then the
	receipient of the work must receive the same permissions to use,
	copy, modify, and distribute the work, in whole or part,
	including any modifications made by the distributor, as
	elsewhere described under this license.

That should keep anyone from price-gouging (you can insist that I pay
$1,000 for your version of the ZX Spectrum ROMs, but I can turn around
and sell it for 50 cents or give it away for free, virtually
guaranteeing that you'll never make another sale at that inflated
price).  I say the copyleft is weak because it doesn't discuss source
code, but the very existence of source code is questionable when it
comes to these ROMs, and I'm guessing that it isn't very important in
this case anyway.

-- 
G. Branden Robinson                |    Kissing girls is a goodness.  It is
Debian GNU/Linux                   |    a growing closer.  It beats the
branden@debian.org                 |    hell out of card games.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |    -- Robert Heinlein

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