Subject: Re: Explanation of copyleft ransomware model
From: Adam Theo <>
Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 18:00:10 -0400

Zimran Ahmed wrote:
>>Now I see what you mean. I would not call this
>>"ransoming" at all. 

Karsten M. Self wrote:
> Bingo.
> I feel the terminology adopted by Theo is pejorative, and hurts his
> arbument.

I understand where you are both coming from, but politely disagree.

First I'll tackle the naming. I do consider the term "Ransom" to be 
applicable because it isn't really the source code that you're holding 
for ransom, it's the *rights* to that source code. You can make source 
code viewable to parties that want it to proof-read, without loosing any 
control or power over the code. Do you agree that the term "Ransom" 
still fits with withholding the *rights* to the code, not the code itself?

And I don't think the bad connotations of the term "ransom" will hurt 
this model any. If it were to be used and presented to the general 
public and individual end users, it would. But Ransom is a model only 
for developers and sponsors. And among those groups, I think they will 
understand, and even be amused by, the terminology.

> Again, to this extent, what we're discussing is a development/business
> protocol, not a license.

*Exactly*. Ransom is not a particular license. It's not even a set of 
rules on how such licenses should be made. It is first a foremost a "way 
of thinking". It doesn't neccisarily lead to using copyright law to do 
the restricting, or even releasing the pre-freed code under 
shareware-like terms, but as long as the model and process of release is 
followed, it's Ransom.

Yes, this is a business model (or rather, "money-making" model) for 
individual programmers to use without having to be employed by a 
software company or spend time selling support. It is intended to 
liberate thje individual, small-time free developer that has financial 
needs but still wants to develop free software.

> I'll also refer readers to L. Peter Deutsch's Aladdin Ghostscript
> licensing (previously mentioned IIRC).

I'll look into this, thank you!  :-)

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