Subject: Re: Simple Public License, Please Review
From: (Bruce Perens)
Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2000 20:41:28 -0700 (PDT)

> It sounds as if you're attempting to assign the right to prosecute an
> infringement of a right that the prosecuting party doesn't own. It's
> so much of a doublethink that I doubt any court would accept it.

From: Justin Wells <>
> But I *do* think that users of copylefted software have a stake in 
> the copyleft.

OK, no problem with that. Now find a legal structure that _works_ to support
the user's interest. My criticism is not with your intent but with your

> So, since I think users have some interest in the copyleft I think they
> ought to be able to step into court and defend that interest. 

Well, they can. But through an intermediary.

> My idea is that if Debian is distributing some free software, and some
> corporation violates the license, Debian ought to be able to do something
> about it even though they didn't write the software.

I founded Software in the Public Interest to address this issue
(and others) for Debian. They are a 501(c)3 corporation that can
_accept_assignments_of_software_ and can prosecute infringement of
that software, for the community of people who donate to support that
defense. Your donation to them is tax-deductible, you can write it off
of your income for Federal tax purposes. They can also assist owners of
free software with financial help for prosecuting infringement and can
support free software development. FSF does a similar thing and is the
same sort of corporation.

Assigning your software to SPI or FSF is the easiest way to make it a community
property in a legaly-acceptable way.