Subject: Re: License Question
From: Lynn Winebarger <owinebar@free-expression.org>
Date: Wed, 16 May 2001 03:11:45 -0500

On Wednesday 16 May 2001 01:18, Crispin Cowan wrote:
> Because of the way Immunix security technology works (assorted
> compile-time hardening tools like StackGuard and FormatGuard) we're
> trying an interesting new twist on the open source business model. 
> We add value by developing and applying hardening technologies to
> open source products.  We want to claim that the binary files that
> result are proprietary to WireX, and charge a per-copy fee.  We are
> not attempting to change the license on the source code, and (in most
> cases) are not even creating private forks in the source code. We
> just want to charge for the service of producing & maintaining this
> hardened distro.  The packages come with various licenses:

     I'm no lawyer, but given that you aren't actually modifying the 
sources, I'd guess you'll have a difficult time enforcing such a 
license, with any of the licenses, at least if the claim is copyright 
based.  The reason being that you (as you've stated) have no copyright 
interest in what you're distributing - and while Apache and MIT 
licenses do allow you to create proprietary forks, they say nothing 
about going to court to prosecute cases for you.
    On the other hand, if you planning on doing this as a contractual 
arrangement, Apache and BSD licenses don't prevent that; though I 
believe the GPL would (or at least I believe RMS would say it would).
I still hold a sliver of hope the courts will eventually strike down 
these types of contracts in mass-market situations (where they attempt 
to usurp copyright law and its limitations), but privately negotiated 
contracts should present no problems (for Apache and BSD licensed 
software).

Lynn