Artistic License

Karl Fogel kfogel at
Wed May 4 16:59:56 UTC 2011

David Woolley <forums at> writes:
>David Woolley wrote:
>> Dale wrote:
>>> thanks a lot for replying
>>> is there any information on the web on the difference between
>>> Distribution Fees and Licensing Fees, so I can educate myself?
>> Licensing Fees are fees for permission to do something with the
>> software.  Distribution fees are fees for physically transferring a
>> copy of the software to you (postage, media, machine time used in
>> making the copy, etc.).
>Note for clarity, distribution fees are only payable to the person
>doing the distributing.  A requirement to charge them downstream and
>make a portion payable to the original distributor would create a
>licence fee payable by the redistributor.  No open source licence
>would require the charging of downstream distribution fees, and I
>don't think any copyleft open source licence would permit a
>requirement to pay a proportion upstream.

Right.  Dale, the way to think about it is that under an open source
license, someone can certainly charge you for the physical act of
transferring bits to you, but the rights are conveyed with the bits.

The downstream recipient is only paying for the bits, not for the rights
to use-modify-share the bits, since the recipient *already has those
rights* under the license.

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