The OSD and commercial use

David Johnson david at
Sat Nov 23 22:58:07 UTC 2002

On Saturday 23 November 2002 07:44 am, John Cowan wrote:
> David Johnson scripsit:
> > Imagine if you went to a store and say a display of chairs. Imagine the
> > price tag said "Non-commercial sitters: free; commercial sitters: $100".
> > Imagine going to a movie theater and seeing a sign that said "Children:
> > $4; Adults: $8; Company groups: $20 per employee".
> I don't understand what the movie theatre is doing in this analogy.
> Around here, at least, they do post different prices for adults and
> children, and while company-group prices are not posted, I bet they're
> lower, not higher.

Let me explain my analogies. Businesses frequently offer discounts to subsets 
of the consuming population because it increases their sales. Children get 
discounts from theaters because it attracts more families. Company groups 
gets discounts before they buy tickets in bulk.

Now imagine if the rates for company groups were higher. When my work group 
goes out next month to see LOTR:TT, we would not go as a group, but would buy 
our tickets individually. We would even stagger our arrival times if 
necessary to make sure the theater didn't know that we were a group.

> There is nothing inherently unjust in this: it's just the transaction
> costs that make it hard.  "Sell high to the rich, low to the poor"
> is a perfectly feasible strategy, but only if you can stop the poor
> from buying wholesale and selling to the rich retail.

Yes, it's a reasonable strategy, and one that I have employed in my earlier 
years as a saleman. But employees of commercial firms are not necessarily 
richer than unemployed consumers.

But this particular analogy dealt with hammers. I do not now of any common 
sales strategy that requires royalties on the use of tools. Often it's quite 
the opposite. For example, it is reasonable for investors to receive 
royalties, but investors are the consumers and not the producers.

David Johnson
pgp public key on website
license-discuss archive is at

More information about the License-discuss mailing list