Open source shareware?

David Johnson david at
Fri Nov 9 07:53:27 UTC 2001

On Thursday 08 November 2001 11:16 pm, David Davies wrote:

> To OWN it they must first accept the terms of whatever licence (or
> contract) is applied to it.

Not at all. This is a myth promulgated by proprietary software companies. If 
I agree to the license, then I have to follow the license. But if I don't 
agree to it I can operate under copyright law. And copyright law says I can 
use the software.

Under the US Commerical Code, if I go to a retail store, pay cash for an 
item, and receive a *sales* receipt, all in a legal manner, then I legally 
own that product. That includes the CD with Windows on it. I haven't leased 
or rented it. I don't own the rights to Windows, but I certainly own one 
particular copy of it, and the says I can legally use that copy.

If Microsoft doesn't like it then they can stop offerering it for sale at 
retail stores.

In the case of downloadable shareware the situation is trickier since I 
haven't purchased it. But the copy in my possession is still a legal copy. I 
didn't have to agree to anything to obtain it. Just because the author says I 
have to do something does not make it so.

And what if I do pay that $20 fee? I have just been given the right to 
distribute it to third parties, and third parties are not bound by the 
agreement I made with the author.

David Johnson
pgp public key on website
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