Subject: New FSB branding model
From: "Forrest J. Cavalier III" <mibsoft@mibsoftware.com>
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 2002 16:36:44 -0400 (EDT)

(Not totally new, but it definitely allows a new kind
of branding which did not exist before, to my knowledge.)

Newforge has a story running of a new tool I released for
free software businesses.  It may not be apparent
how it helps make money in an FSB, so I wanted to post
here and see what people think:

The headline is "New utility helps prevent software license 
violations"
    http://newsforge.com/newsforge/02/04/23/163211.shtml?tid=51

The tool works by adding a SHA1 stamp of the license text
to a file.  These stamps can be located by scanning the file.
(Which means that entire trees can be scanned automatically.)

The Business Strategy it supports
---------------------------------
I still believe the FS community is expanding a growing pie.
Even though I think others are probably better positioned and
more experienced, I think I can outline the revenue streams
that a tool like LIDESC supports.  We'll see. :-)

The target focus is software publishers: those who care
about redistribution.  They who care that the stated license
terms are legitimate and compatible with local publishing
requirements.

So, if you are a software consultant, instead of making
the consulting sales pitch:
    "There is a lot of software libre with various license
     terms written by many people.  I will help you find
     some appropriate for your need and local publishing
     requirements."

  (Likely answer: Well, we can do that ourselves.  We have
  to trust that you are better that we are.)

with LIDESC it can be the trusted subscription sales pitch:

    "I have a carefully selected collection of software which
     I have made sure is stamped so that you can automatically choose
     software with licenses compatible with local publishing
     requirements.  I can sell you a signed, dated certificate 
     with your name, that says all the files are stamped
     correctly to the best of my knowledge and that if I receive
     any evidence to the contrary, the stamps are updated in
     the next release.  

     No one can offer you a warranty you will not be infringing
     copyright or license terms, but this is an accounting
     trail which greatly reduces that risk.  You will know how
     you acquired the software and the terms if you ever need to
     prove it."

   (Likely answer: Hard to do that ourselves.  We don't have time.
   We could make a one-time buy of the collection, but what if a
   patent issues or is enforced late, or copyright terms are found
   to need updating.  We have to trust that the seller is careful
   and diligent.)

One key here is that the license certificate is signed and dated
and includes the recipients name.  That makes it in effect
non-transferrable.  (Say I give a certicate stating "The software
stamps that B has received are appropriate."  B can give that 
certificate to C, but it doesn't give C the same assurances.
B can and should issue a new certificate to C.)

I think LIDESC has other spin-off side businesses as well, you
can get an idea of them from the "Services by Contract" items
at http://www.mibsoftware.com/librock/lidesc/order.htm

Big holes to this branding strategy anyone?  Anyone ever try
something like this before?

Forrest Cavalier III
Mib Software