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Re: Dissident versus ASP



On Tue, Mar 18, 2003 at 12:06:12PM +0200, Richard Braakman wrote:
> > If necessary, you do the NDAing at arm's length, something like:
> > 	A changes the program
> > 	E employs B under a contract that they don't distribute the
> > 	  program or its source, etc
> > 	E asks A to give B a copy of the program
> > 	A gives B a copy of the program
> This would leave A free to distribute the modifications.

Sorry, it would leave A free to distribute the original program, but
the point is that it would leave B with a copy of the program to work on
(presumably under E's direction), but unable to give copies of it to
anyone else whenever he likes. You might consider E to be employing both
A and B (and thus that A is already under similar restrictions).

> If the program were GPLed, it _would_ stop B from being able to give
> copies to anyone unless the copies were unrestricted.  

No, the GPL's satisfied here:

]   6. Each time you redistribute the Program (or any work based on the
] Program), the recipient automatically receives a license from the
] original licensor to copy, distribute or modify the Program subject to
] these terms and conditions.  You may not impose any further
] restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein.
] You are not responsible for enforcing compliance by third parties to
] this License.

The only person redistributing the program is A. The person imposing
further restrictions is E -- not "You".

> I think the end result of your scenario is that only B is restricted.

That's the point though: you can end up stopping all your employees from
distributing the code through fairly standard employment contract terms,
and you're done - the ASP loophole's open again, and you can make your
modifications and stick them in your CGI directory.

If you want to generalise it, think of:

	A = www.debian.org
	B, C, D = employees
	E = agent for employer

Each employee can download from A happily; each is under NDA with E, and
E never downloads anything so isn't bound by the license. B, C and D can
share their changes quite happily if they pass them around if "diff --ed"
form.

This is the harder way of doing it, of course; the easiest way is to
say that it's not the employees who own the copy of the program but the
company, and that all the work the employees do is a "work for hire"
and copyright is owned by the company; then there's no question of the
employees being able to distribute copies -- they don't own the copy
they have so they have no rights at all -- cf the various sourceless
beta tests of GPLed software that people have gotten away with.

Cheers,
aj

-- 
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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