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Re: Non-Free Software

Richard E. Hawkins Esq. wrote:

> manoj wrote,
> >I certainly would prefer the Debian project itself not pass
> > these judgements on non-free packages unless we had legal advice.
> speaking hypothetically, as my law licenses are inactive to avoid the $800 a
> year in fees while i spend time as a graduate student, and am probably not
> licensed in the state in which debian is incorporated, and a bunch of other
> standard disclaimers:

close enough to a lawyer for my standards....Then again I generally don't have
much use for careing about law at all
(other than to believe they are meant to be broken) so my standards
are lower than some :)

> If an organization were to come to me, and ask about it or an affiliate, or a
> person, making decisions on copyrights of software packages, I'd have a couple
> of general observations:
> 1)  deciding whether or not the legal restrictions in a copyright allow
> distribution, when that distribution is to be made by another person or
> entity, probably constitutes the practice of law, which would open a can of
> worms for any non-lawyer doing it.

Ya know....you are probably right (as the Mahareeshi HashishYogi said:never argue
with your doctor he has inside information)
I had though tof that. I said a few days back that I would be willing to work on
such an effort to sort out what can and what can't go on a CD
(if someone else would like to help...this does seem like a bit much work to do
I thought of this:
I authored a piece of Win95 shareware last year. to this day I still recive
from people saying "is it ok to include this in our sharewar CD?"
Why not make an effort in this way:
a) read the licence...see if it expliciatly allows this type of distribution
(ie being put on a CD with a collection of software and sold for profit)
b) if not then assume that it is NOT allowed and make an effort to contact teh
ask him if he would allow it and if so to ask him to ammend his copywrite
statement to allow it (rather than relying onasimple e-mail "yea its ok")
I think that most authors of non-free software would allow this as it increaces
exposure of their software and it thus actually good for them.
and those that don't...well...they can sit in FTP Server hell for eternity :)
also...(side point) didn't somone have to read the copywright to determine
if it can even be debian packaged and distributed from debians FTP server in the
first place?

> 2) the person doing this, as well as any distributors, could face copyright
> infringment actgion if they decide wrong.  acting in good faith with reasoned
> legal advice would affect damages, not liability.

The copyright laws in this country are really AFU...but Ive known that for a while

> 3) the persons making the decision, and those distributing, should have
> insurance.

hmmm insurance...now there is another can of worms entirelyI try to avoid companis
that feel the need to
actually put into writting that I am not covered from damages "due to
nuclear fallout, explosions...etc"...I mean really....thats akin to
"This is only a test, had this been an actual emergency your radio would
now be melting in your hands as your flesh chars and falls off your body
this is only a test"
...but...I digress...

> rick, esq.
> --
> These opinions will not be those of ISU until it pays my retainer.
> --
> To UNSUBSCRIBE, email to debian-user-request@lists.debian.org
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-=Signature has been removed because it made an unfair comparison between NT 4 and
Linux =-
replacement: (ok I admit...I am bored..its a slow day at work)
[sjc@debian ~]$fortune -o
Anything more than 3 shakes is for fun.

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