Subscription/Service Fees

David Davies ddavies at
Wed Mar 28 03:51:39 UTC 2001

On Wednesday, 28 March 2001 7:36 AM, Eric Jacobs wrote :

-> > Violates #7:  "The rights attached to the program must 
-> apply to all to 
-> > whom the program is redistributed without the need for 
-> execution of an 
-> > additional license by those parties".
-> > 
-> >
-> How is there an additional license required? A requirement 
-> to pay somebody
-> something does not imply that an additional license is 
-> required. I believe
-> the original poster is envisioning it simply as a clause in 
-> the (sole)
-> license.

I confirm that that was what I envisioned.

I can see no reason why a clause can not be added to the license that
" x.1  If you continue to use this software or any derived work after a
thirty (30) day evaluation period you are required to register it.
  x.2  Registration can be performed at "

This would also require another clause as follows for it to apply to derived
works also.
" y.1  Redistributions of source code or any derived works must retain the
above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following
  y.2  Redistributions of this product or derived works in binary form must
reproduce the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the
following disclaimer in the documentation and/or other materials provided
with the distribution."

-> > You can charge for subscriptions to updates (Cf:  Red 
-> Hat).  You can't 
-> > charge for ongoing execution rights.
-> Of course not. "Execution rights" are not among the exclusive rights
-> listed in 17 USC 106 (assuming we are talking about a 
-> copyright license
-> in the US), so it makes no sense to talk about granting 
-> them. A shareware
-> style requirement to pay for use is not a matter of granting (or not
-> granting) specific rights, but of imposing obligations in 
-> return for the
-> rights which are granted. Clearly, #7 does not apply.

That is the way I understand it also and the basis of the original question.

Is there any reason why the obligation to pay a registration fee can not be
included in an Open Source license.

The question also doesn't refer to the possibility of enforcing the
obligation by way of law either.  

According to

" 7. Distribution of License

Rationale: This clause is intended to forbid closing up software by indirect
means such as requiring a non-disclosure agreement."

The reason and intent of clause 7 appears to be to stop the limitations
being imposed on the use of source code or program by way of a separate

Requiring a registration fee does not "close up" in that sense.

David Davies

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