Subject: Re: Open source + commercial
From: "Steve Lhomme" <steve.lhomme@free.fr>
Date: Sat, 15 Sep 2001 09:05:06 +0200

| I would not advise confusing "commerce" and "commercial." The Commerce
| Clause refers to an entirely different matter than what Steve asked. Sure,
| defining non-commercial is not easy, but it's done all the time because
| laws require the distinction to be made. For example, a trademark
| anti-dilution claim must show a use in commerce that is also a commercial
| use. What that means is the Trademark holder shows that someone is
| diluting their mark in interstate commerce and that the dilution arises
| from a commercial use. A parody of a famous trademark on a popular website
| might be deemed in commerce, but it's likely (although not definitely)
| to be deemed non-commerical use since a parody is often considered a use
| for comic effect. The point is every plaintiff claiming anti-dilution must
| show those elements of the claim. It's difficult, but not impossible.

Well, at least there is one OSI-approved license that makes clear
distinction between commercial and non-commercial nature. Check out the
Common Public License ( http://www.opensource.org/licenses/cpl.html )
paragraph "4. COMMERCIAL DISTRIBUTION".

| I do agree with Daniel in one respect: I am unsure whether it's useful to
| draw the commercial/non-commercial distinction in the context of a
| software license, where enforcement is going to be formidable. If the goal
| is to lock-out commercial competitors, why not try a M$ license? (Just
| kidding). It's not clear why you want to make the distinction you asked
| about so it's difficult to suggest a license.

My idea is to create a library that could be used in a lot of softwares,
open or closed, commercial or Free (notice the capital F). But if it's to be
used in a closed product, I want the changes made become also public.

I used to go for the BSD/MIT license because you can use the open software
in a closed source software, which is convenient for lots of companies
(that's what rule # 6 of the OSI is good at). That's a good point for a
developper who create something and then improve it for a company who want a
specific feature. But the company or developper who makes changes don't have
to publish the new code and that's a real pity for the software they used.
If it's the project creator there are lots changes that this will happen
(see the http://www.scintilla.org/ project), but what about all the others
in this open world ?

Meanwhile I found out that the Artistic license protects the sofwtare from
that because if the software is used and changed, the company/developper
using it have to make clear what changes he made. (am I right ?)

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