Subscription/Service Fees - OSD Intent

John Cowan cowan at
Thu Mar 29 12:08:52 UTC 2001

Eric Jacobs scripsit:

> Indeed, if the execution of a software program is not an
> exclusive right of the copyright holder, then all shareware concepts
> (with or without source) are faced with a problem -- how to get the
> user to execute the license at all. Considering that most shareware users
> are not interested in copying, modifying, distributing, or preparing
> derivative works, this is a serious problem.

I don't think so.  In order for you to obtain a shareware program,
copying had to happen somewhere: either you copied it from some source,
or a distributor copied it and distributed the copy to you.  In
either case the Copyright Act gets involved.

The kind of copying involved in running a program -- from disk to
memory -- is explicitly licensed by the Act.

> But whether or not shareware-with-source can be practically or legally
> enforced is not my main point. My main point is that OSD #7 cannot be
> sensibly construed as a criterion that a requirement-to-pay be waived
> for users to whom the software is redistributed, *without* also
> implying the waiver of other kinds of requirements, such as GNU
> GPL-style "viral" requirements.

I agree.

John Cowan                                   cowan at
One art/there is/no less/no more/All things/to do/with sparks/galore
	--Douglas Hofstadter

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