Wording in Open Source Definition

Dave J Woolley david.woolley at bts.co.uk
Fri Feb 16 15:34:12 UTC 2001

> From:	Richard Boulton [SMTP:richard at tartarus.org]
> We were unable to come to a satisfactory agreement, so I am asking this
> list:  "Is it permissible in any circumstances for an Open Source license
> to require a royalty or other fee for sale of the software?"
	The GPL is Open Source and the answer for the GPL is,
	as I understand it:

	No licence fee may be charged for the use of any intellectual 
	property in the software (i.e. copyright or patent licences).

	An indefinitely large fee may be charged for:

	- the media;
	- placing the software on the media;
	- warranties;
	- support;
	- etc.

	This fee is is between the immediate supplier and immediate
	recipient; a supplier cannot insist that the recipient charge
	anyone down stream, although, I would hope, that they could 
	impose a restriction that they would not provide any support or
	any warranty to an indirect recipient, or allow the the immediate
	recipient to act as their agent in selling support and warranty 

	I think you will find that RedHat is based on the ability to
	charge in this way.

	(The one restriction on supply charges in the GPL is that, once 
	executables are supplied, charges for source must be based on 
	true copying, handling and media costs, not on what the market will
	bear.  One point of the GPL is that the market will not bear large
	prices when anyone can redistribute or support the software.)


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