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Re: OSD && DFSG - different purposes - constructive suggestion!

On Sun, Mar 09, 2003 at 10:53:28PM -0800, Thomas Bushnell, BSG wrote:
> Consider Fred the Lawyer.  [...]

> He'll write a computer program, tailored specially for Joe's Sheet Rock;
> Joe can then input the details of the particular arrangement, [...]

> Fred wants to use a popular free software package which almost does
> just the job: QNU Madlibs.  But QNU Madlibs is distributed under the
> QPL.  What the Fred would like to do is make a special version of QNU
> Madlibs for Joe, with the special details of Joe's contracts.  [...]

Unfortunately, he realises he can't. Thus he writes his own program from
scratch. Or else he adds a macro facility into QNU Madlibs, or customises
it so it'll accept contract texts from a data file rather than hardcoding
it and makes sure that he only needs to accompany it with the original
contract forms for it to be a useful program. Maybe he does the latter,
then contributes the changes back upstream so his programmers don't have
to keep supporting it, and can work on other projects.

> If Fred complies with the demand, he violates a duty of
> confidentiality.  

Fred's pretty silly for not having looked into this in the first place.
Especially being a lawyer.

Consider Frank the lawyer who takes some nice source code from a GPLed
project, and adds some code his friend was telling him under NDA. He
puts it up on the web, and suddenly gets demands for source code from
the original author. What does he do, violate the NDA, or the copyright
license??? What does he do?!?

> If there were no copyrights, Joe and Fred would not be stuck.  

If there were no copyrights, Frank wouldn't be stuck either. If Fred
had spent a minute looking through the license, or even simply practised
good programming techniques he wouldn't be stuck, either.


Anthony Towns <aj@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG signed mail preferred.

  ``Dear Anthony Towns: [...] Congratulations -- 
        you are now certified as a Red Hat Certified Engineer!''

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