Subject: Re: commercial use of the net
From: gnu@CYGNUS.COM
Date: Fri, 12 Feb 93 15:49:49 -0800

A lot of people on this list seem to have the impression that commercial
use of the Internet is not allowed, or might not be allowed, or...

Here's the truth.  Well over half of the Internet provides full
unlimited access -- you can buy, sell, advertise, pornographize, or
whatever on it.  If it's legal to send it on paper, it's legal to send
it over this part of the net.

The other subset of the net involves traffic on the NSFnet backbone
(that hasn't been paid for via an ANSnet commercial agreement), and/or
traffic on some of the regional networks that haven't woken up to the
reality yet.  

You can find out from your regional network whether they permit
commercial traffic and whether they're hooked up to a worldwide
commercial networking company (like Alternet, Sprint, PSI, or ANS).
If they don't permit commercial traffic, or they have bullshit
regulations like Barrnet (commercial traffic is ok if it is
"incidental" to your normal research-and-education traffic --
pfaugh!), then hook up to a real live networking company like the ones
mentioned above.

Of course, since NSF continues dragging its feet on actually
commercializing the NSFnet backbone, even if you have a commercial
connection, you have to verify that the other end (your customer) also
has such a connection, and that none of the intermediate networks is
the NSFnet.

So it's a pain in the ass, but it *is* possible and very rewarding to
do business over the Internet.  We regularly receive bug reports, send
out new releases, receive core files and bug files, and log in to
customer sites over our Internet connection.  We'd hate to go back
to magtapes and FedEx (though we still have to do so for customers
who aren't on the net).