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Re: Standard non-copyleft free license?

On Tuesday 11 March 2003 04:56 pm, Glenn Maynard wrote:
> On Tue, Mar 11, 2003 at 03:46:05PM -0800, Terry Hancock wrote:
> > They could, of course, sell the software to someone 
> > else, but the usual caveats about selling free software
> > (i.e. you can be easily undersold) apply.  That might
> > be valuable to them if they wanted to 
> > build significantly on it, though.
> The only way you get this is if you require that the software remain
> free: that they not be able to add a bit of non-free code to it, and
> add restrictions prohibiting further redistribution.  The only way you'll
> get that is with a copyleft, not with a BSD-ish license.

No, you misunderstand me. I know they can make a competing derivative of the 
code I produce (but I don't particularly fear this).  The problem I'm trying 
to solve is of specifying ownership of the actual code I deliver. If I don't 
say anything in the contract, it might be interpreted as work for hire, and 
they can sell me *verbatim* the code I give them under contract under a 
proprietary license.  *That's* what I'm trying to avoid.  I don't think they 
will particularly care to compete with me on the market, so I'm not 
especially worried about that, but in any case the fact that mine will be 
GPL'd  is all the leverage I would need anyway.

To contrast the two cases:

* They may own the software under the "work for hire" concept (and it 
probably takes a court to decide).
* They have the right to sell the code under a proprietary license. They can 
prevent me from distributing it under *any* license or deriving my own 
version from it.

* I own the software, but it is free-licensed.
* They have the right to sell derived software under any license they
  want AND SO DO I.
* I release *my* derivative version under the GPL, and no one can say I can't.

> That is, the caveats you're referring to are caveats of copylefted
> software, not of free software in general.

They're caveats of both, generally speaking, at least until the other party 
contributes enough code to seriously compete with me.  At that point, I don't 
care too much, though -- they'll be different products. You must remember 
that I will have already made my money on this when I deliver it.

Thank you very much for the boiler plate version and links, David Turner and 
Don Armstrong.  I do wish though that there were a cannonical, 
name-recognizable version like the GPL that one could simply refer to, or 
copy verbatim.  Maybe I'll try to fill that niche by posting a few sample 
licenses with use instructions like the FSF does with the GPL.  The idea is 
to have a sort of "best practice" list, since the GPL is not *always* the 
right choice.  I like copyleft, but in this case I don't need it, and it 
improves the value to my client, who is going to pay me well for it.

As for "legal advice", yeah I know I'm on my own. ;-)  I do actually have a 
lawyer I can ask, but it's not really her specialty.


Terry Hancock ( hancock at anansispaceworks.com )
Anansi Spaceworks  http://www.anansispaceworks.com

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