Subject: FSBs and commercial use of The Net
From: jmay@CTP.COM (Jason May)
Date: Fri, 12 Feb 93 14:28:20 -0500


Darn.  Next time I'll look before I hit 'reply' on a message posted
to a mailing list.  Sorry.  But I'll take advantage of my error to
post a query:

What precisely are the restrictions against commercial use of network
resources?  I'm aware that government-sponsored networks, like NREN
(I think that's what it's called nowadays) are off-limits, but precisely
what is restricted?  I can understand that flagrant product advertising
would clearly be in this region, but how about ordering of products,
sending out product information -when it is requested-, technical support,
and so forth.  Does the act of, say, e-mailing a GCC bug report to Cygnus
count as commercial use?  Is this only bad if that bug report crosses
NREN, and OK if it only travels across commercial networks like PSInet
and Alternet?

I'm much more interested in how these regulations apply to free software
businesses as opposed to Big Bad Computer Companies.  FSBs seem to depend
a great deal on network access for distributing and monitoring use of
their 'product'; it's certainly cheaper to send out information
electronically that dropping hundreds of copies of a glossy brochure into
the mail.

-Jason