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Re: [OT] - Interesting politics and the GPL

n Wed, 23 Oct 2002 13:29:13 -0700 "deFreese, Barry"
<Barry.deFreese@nike.com> wrote:

> Have you folks seen this "debate"?
> http://newsvac.newsforge.com/newsvac/02/10/23/1247236.shtml?tid=4

Yes, I did.  However, I fail to understand why federally funded projects
should be allowed to be privately licensed.  A federally funded project
is  by definition paid for by the tax payers (aka general public).
IMHO, something paid for by the general public should be licensed in a
manner that ensures it remains accessible to the public.

I understand the concept of the BSD style license(s) (I think), but fail
to see why it would be acceptable as a license for anything federally
funded.  With a BSD style license, anyone is free to take the result (at
any stage) and create a closed (possibly enhanced) proprietary
implementation.  Why should this be allowed for something paid for by
the public's tax dollars?  The public has already paid for a good
portion (if not all) of the item through federal funding.  Now it can be
incorporated into a proprietary application and the public winds up
paying for it twice?  

While some see the GPL's requirement, that any enhancements/changes be
released if the modified version is distributed, as restrictive.  It is
for this precise reason that it is well suited for licensing federally
funded projects.  It ensures that the results of such projects remain
public.  If someone wants to create a proprietary implementation, they
are free to do so.  They can re-implement the solution their way and
license as they see fit.  However, I don't feel they should be given a
handout/kick-start from a publicly funded project. 

Jamin W. Collins

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