Subject: Re: Unexercisable rights
From: Ian Lance Taylor <>
Date: 22 Jun 1999 15:41:02 -0400

   Date: Tue, 22 Jun 1999 15:31:30 -0400
   From: Brian Bartholomew <>

   > the *right* to redistribute still exists, even if the *desire* to
   > redistribute does not.

   I find that line of argument contrary to practical usage.  For a right
   to exist, the user must have a practical opportunity to exercise it.


   In practical terms, giving away a competitive advantage you paid $20M
   for to your competitors is a stronger bound on a company's actions
   than a proprietary license contract.

False.  It may indeed be a strong bound on action, but I expect in
ordinary cases a license contract will be stronger.

Anyhow, so what?  What's your point?  You've got the rewards backward.
If Cygnus were paying companies $20M to not redistribute the code,
then we could argue about whether Cygnus were changing the software to
be non-libre.  However, this is the other way around.  Companies are
paying Cygnus $20M.

If you pay me $20M for an essay, and I put no restrictions on your use
of the essay, have you somehow lost of your right of free speech
because you are disinclined to read the essay over the radio?  If you
think you have lost it, who caused you to lose it?  Me, because I
charged you $20M?