Subject: Re: Successful FSBs
From: "Benjamin J. Tilly " <ben_tilly@operamail.com>
Date: Mon, 30 Sep 2002 16:44:59 +0500

"Stephen J. Turnbull" <stephen@xemacs.org> wrote:
[...]
> Footnotes: 
[...]
> [2]  Yes, an American liberal can feel shame about the massive land
> fraud called "the United States of America."  I don't know what to do
> about it, but it is a shame.

Most of the US was not won by land fraud, but by war.
With the arguable exception of Hawaii, I can't think of
any exceptions after the illegal eviction generally
called the Trail of Tears (1838-1839).

Compare and contrast to Canada which settled the whole
thing by treaties.  And which got rather lax about them
at the end, leaving the current situation where nobody
wants to give it to them, but the natives legally should
own about 70% of British Columbia.

> [3]  Note that, once again, the principal economic argument against
> lengthening copyright term (for new IP) has exactly this form.  Ie,
> over the years it becomes hard to find and identify authors, so that
> requiring readers to get permission becomes an unacceptably large
> transaction cost.  See also the discussion of the ransom model.  So
> "properly balanced" surely does not mean infinite term, and is
> possibly compatible with fairly short term.

As the one who has been repeating that argument to you
fairly regularly, I would like to also point out that
a similar argument applies for strengthening what is
allowed under copyright.  Bills like the DMCA and the
proposed CBDTPA, along with technologies like Palladium,
are objected to because the cost of the coercion needed
to enforce copyright surpasses the general benefit of
the same.  (IMHO of course.)

[...]
> [5]  One did joke that a lawyer's first guess would be that in that
> clause "use as the Author sees fit" refers to _running_ the code.
> This is actually plausible in that there is no obligation for the FSF
> to distribute your code, and therefore you may have no rights to it
> at all in the absence of explicit FSF permission, unless you have
> previously distributed it under a free license!  This is of practical
> significance for those who have, as I have, signed assign.future.
[...]

Given that one no longer owns copyright, it is no
surprise that you would afterwards have no more rights
than any member of the general public.

I am kind of curious about this.  Suppose that I offer
a copyright license.  And then I sell my copyright.
Who do users have that license with now?  Me?  The
current owner?  And if it is the current owner, then
are they bound by my previous license?  Do I have a
responsibility to disclose this?

What would happen if, for instance, someone released
code under a BSD license, then later moved to the GPL,
then assigned copyright to the FSF?  What would be the
status of a proprietary company who was using code
derived from the BSD codebase?

Cheers,
Ben
-- 
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