Subject: Re: Ransom (long) (was: Mandatory donations...)
From: Adam Theo <adamtheo@theoretic.com>
Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 23:25:32 -0400

Norbert Bollow wrote:

>     Norbert> make the promise "when I have sold a 100 copies of this,
>     Norbert> then I will post a notice on my website and to xyz
>     Norbert> mailing list stating that this code is now free".  If
>     Norbert> you're a well-respected Free Software developer with good
>     Norbert> reputation, you'll probably not need to do anything else.


Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
> Who could be more respected with better reputation than the Free
> Software Foundation itself? 


You mean use the FSF as a middle-man to verify and enforce the Ransom 
agreements? I think this would essentially be a good idea, although 
obviously details would have to be worked out.

> Yet there is controversy over the meaning
> of the "you can use your own code as you wish" clause.  I (and a
> lawyer formerly qualified at the California Bar in an unofficial
> opinion) believe that it is meaningless; the assignment means that all
> of the interesting uses are either already allowed by the GPL or
> reserved to the FSF.  But some people think they can base a dual
> licensing strategy on that clause.  I suspect that RMS's intent was
> that, but that if push comes to shove his lawyer will tell him that
> it contradicts the "all copies redistributed under the authority of
> the FSF will be free (after all, that is the poison pill that makes a
> Microsoft hostile takeover of the FSF unlikely ;-).


Hmm... I don't know what you mean here, but am very interested in 
learning about this. Could you by chance explain the fundamentals of the 
issue, so I could know what to look into? Thank you.


> I think probably an assignment to the FSF, perhaps postdated, would be
> the cheapest way to get the kind of credibility you want.

I agree.


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