Subject: Re: GPL and trademarks and brandnames...
From: Ian Lance Taylor <ian@airs.com>
Date: 16 Nov 1998 13:58:23 -0500

   Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 10:27:37 -0500
   From: Brian Bartholomew <bb@wv.com>

   > The fact that I have an incentive to hoard the information is
   > irrelevant, since such hoarding is impossible.

   Hoarding is easy.  After you write your coffee-table book on comic
   book trivia, you sell it as a piece of proprietary IP.  If you were
   persuing a libre strategy, you would GPL it and post it on the web.

I think you have missed my original point.  I'm selling the answers to
questions that people ask.  I'm not selling a trivia book.  A book
will only answer the questions which people have asked in the past, or
which I think they are likely to ask in the future.  It will not
answer whatever random questions people may come up with.  In
particular, it will not answer questions that are meaningless or
unimportant now, but which become important in the future.

I think you have also missed the wider point: I am selling my detailed
understanding of a complex topic.  Comic books are merely a trivial
example.  There is no book I can write which can convey to you my
understanding derived from 24 years of being a consumer in the comic
book field.  If I could write such a book, it would take you a
significant amount of time to understand it--not 24 years, of course,
but a significant amount of time nevertheless.

Perhaps this point will be clearer if you change the field to computer
programming, and consider my hypothetical attempt to write a book to
convey the knowledge derived from my 20 years of experience in the
computer field.

   Refusing to produce the book on the grounds that proprietary IP is
   morally different when it's stored in neurons instead of magnetic
   media is also hoarding.

   Refusing to produce the book (or website) on the grounds that a brain
   implementation offers a better search engine is probably a cover
   story for hoarding.

These are just strawman arguments.  I have never seen anybody make
them in the form which you present.

People may refuse to produce such a book on the grounds that it would
be difficult and costly.  If you define a free software business as
being required to undertake difficult and costly endeavours with no
consideration for possible future reward, then you are most likely
correct in believing that no such business can exist.  However, in
making that definition, you are changing the definition of the words
``free software business'' as they are used on this list.  Avoiding
hoarding only implies not hiding or preventing access to sources of
information.  It does not require tutoring others in the uses of the
information.

Ian