Subject: Re: Ransom (long) (was: Mandatory donations...)
From: Adam Theo <>
Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 03:24:48 -0400

>>Actually, I'm quite sure that Zimran is correct. A polite observation is that
>>the GPL cannot enforce it's "viral" nature on code that has not been released
>>yet. That is the key factor. If/once the code is ever released, it *must* be
>>GPL'ed, and any changes must be made public at no cost. It is in fact
>>impossible for the GPL to enforce it's viral nature on code that has not been
>>released. The GPL is a copyright license, and copyright law can only cover
>>distribution, not internal use and modification.

Kevin A. Burton wrote:
> Yes... in Zimran's scenario he would be correct.  The only problem is that
> Zimran's scenario won't work in the real world.

OK, I (and I'm sure Zimran as well) just wanted to make sure that the 
legal aspects of the GPL and the capabilities of copyright law in 
general were understood. I'm sure you understood what Zimran was saying, 
it just was not coming out in the communications through the foum, is all.

That GPL issue that we just finished debating is a very tricky one, and 
an issue that lies in copyright law itself. It got me good when I was 
first asking these questions here, I know :-) But thanks to this list 
I'm alot more knowledgeable about copyright and the GPL than I ever was 

Kevin A. Burton wrote:
> AKA people won't pay for software they have not seen or may not even exist.
	<cross-post snip>

> I always assumed that ranomed software would require distribution to users for
> evaluation.  At this point the user could request the source per the GPL.
> I don't see any way to demand a ransom without evidence that you have produced
> the software.

My thoughts, too, Mr Burton. When I first thought of Ransom, I had only 
thought of using "shareware/trial" methods to distribute the pre-opened 
software, to allow people to try it out and even look at the source code 
before buying. I'm very grateful to Zimran for pointing out that an 
"advance Ransom" method could be used as well, particularly when dealing 
with the standard GPL.

To be fair, I think Zimran has been saying this not because he thinks it 
is the most viable way for Ransomed software to work, but because he 
wanted to show how "re-Ransoming" could be done with the standard GPL. 
He wanted to establish that it could be done, it would just have to 
exlude any shareware-like properties and instead rely on purely 
reputation and trust.

Kevin A. Burton wrote:

> I don't honestly expect this to work.  Do you really see people paying *in
> advance* to psuedononymous identities on the internet?

Well, neither do I, or at least not be the main or most successful way
to Ransom. I still think the amin Ransom method will be the shareware
approach, but when dealing with the standard GPL, Zimran's "advanced
Ransom" method is the only way that can be used, due to the restrictions
inherent in the GPL.

I want to facilitate both methods of Ransoming, by building tools, 
guides, and resources for both the programmers and the "people" that are 
paying the Ransom. One tool could be my GiftNet Project 
<>, to ease the Ransom payment process 
for everyone and protect the payer's and public's rights with "total 
funds collected by programmer" and other such GiftNet features. Also, 
one or more general "Ransom Licenses" could be made and offereed for use 
with non-GPL open/free licenses.

I believe there will be need for such Ransom Licenses if the "Shareware" 
method is used. Programmers will need a general license to use that 
keeps the code proprietary, if not closed, until the full Ransom has 
been met.

    /\    -- Adam Theo, Age 22, Tallahassee FL USA --
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