Subject: Blankley's Challenge (Possible Solution)
From: Adam Theo <>
Date: Mon, 14 May 2001 15:03:00 -0400

Hello, all. I was wondering if the list had recieved my post a few
days ago (friday morning, i think) on my idea and possible solution to
the challenge of being able to make money/be compensated from
developing free software.

if it was dropped because of thread's OT-ness, my apologies.

i'm also working on archiving this thread on my website. any
suggestions for what to call this whole thing?

in case the post didn't make it or just got lost in the activity, i'll
copy it below.

#### original post:

Hello, Adam Theo here;

As Mr. Blanley has said before, we should "brain-storm and develop a
viable means for this person(and the community at large) to see a
return on their investment(development time)". Many people feel the
same way, that a model to ensure monetary compensation for their work
is both very desireable and needed:

"Dave Blankley" <> began it all:
    The thread begun by Adam Theo represented both an opportunity and
    a challenge to this group.  One that so far has been squandered,
    yet may still be redeemed.

"Glen Starchman" <> wrote:
    I tend to agree, although I, also, remained quiet on the
    thread... partially because of the beating I took a few months ago
    on a fairly similar topic. ;-)
    That is also a case in point. Sure, there are people who write
    software for the love of it. But there are also people who write
    software to make a living. If I run a bakery, I am not going to
    give out my bread recipe.

"Norbert Bollow" <> wrote:
    Ok, that makes a lot of sense.  (I also want to be compensated for
    my investment in development of the Free Software program that I'm
    working on.)
    In order to make significant progress towards an all-FS world, a
    way must be found how developers can get paid well for work on
    _needed_ Free Software.  You are always free to develop some
    software as a hobby, but if your project is something that others
    want to use, then a way must be found to provide fair payment to
    the developers.

I believe I may have found a possible solution (although a rough
draft), or at the very least a new direction to explore into. It began
with the dilemma of allowing re-distribution of my works. Many people,
noteably Mr. Cozens, put up some very good arguments against keeping a
tight reign on the proliferation of my works to the outside world,
trying to keep control of who has it, buys it, and re-sells it. I came
to the conclusion that although being able to be monetarily
compensated for the use of my work (with more assurances than
appreciative donations, more like the widespread model of "pay per
package") is a must, allowing for the free ('free' as in 'freedom')
re-distribution of my works are also a must to suceed.

Then "Eureka"! How's this for a model:

One. On the matter of re-distribution: The source of the work is in
all respects (as far as my lack of legal understanding goes, anyway)
open source/free software (I wish to discuss the differences of these,
and which is best used here). First, make note of how most, if not
all, OSS/FS licenses require credit to the original authors, as well
as sometimes to later (modifier) authors, no matter what modifications
take place by third-parties. Finally, apply very similar
practices/clauses to the license on payment for usage.
Two. On the matter of relation to current OSS/FS: I said above, "in
all respects open source/free software". Except for the fact of
requiring payment like requiring credit to the original
author. Third-party developers may freely use, modify, and even
re-distribute (either the original or even their own complete modified
version) the work, *as long as* they make the payment to the original
Three. On the matter of users: From the end user's point of view, all
he needs to do is pay for the program (before or after
downloading/trying/modifying the script I will leave open for now,
possibly to be left to individual licenses using this model) and then
use it.
Four. On the matter of re-distribution, again: It should be that the
same license and payment that buys the work for usage also buys the
work for re-distribution by the same person. Say a user buys the
program, over time modifies it, then wants to re-distribute it to
others. As long as the other users make the payment to the original
author, It is allowed and encouraged.
Five: On the matter of compensation to re-sellers. Re-sellers will
want their own payment for re-selling. Instead of forcing the user to
purchase the work twice, at two different locations (which will surely
doom the model to failure), the original author may (and in fact
probably should) set aside a portion of each payment made to be passed
along to the third-party developer/re-seller that the end user
downloaded from. Deatils of this I will leave open for now, possibly
for individual licenses to detail.

This seems to me to head in the right direction, although I'm sure
many problems exist with it as it is now. But with brainpower and
co-operation from this model's creators, it can be a viable solution
to the issue of assured compensation to a work's authors.

The biggest problem to it's viability as i see it right now is the
same one that afflicts so-called "share-ware" (note to members of the
list: I just finished reading on the matter, and realized this
weakness existed in my model as well). What is to reasonably assure
the participants in this model that users will pay for the work? Will
convenience, price, or community be able to turn this around?

I wish to hear from everyone who has an opinion, even if it seems
someone else is saying the same thing. It helps me to see what the
common perceptions are, and how most people feel on the issue.

   /\    --- Adam Theo ---
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