License -> back on track

Karsten M. Self kmself at
Tue Oct 12 22:21:08 UTC 1999

Response list trimmed due to relay failure at my ISP.  Muench may wish
to forward to dropped individuals.

Robert M. Muench wrote:
> Hi, I have followed the threads some time now and have tried to
> get some lawyers on board which would help us to clarify some
> questions we are not sure about. I have one guy found and he is
> willing to help us to some point for free (this time like the
> free beer ;-) and the Germany word fro this freeness is:
> Umsonst).
> However, I would like to make something like a mind-map for what
> we would like to cover and what features/properties the
> license/NDA/whatever should have. In the first step I would like
> to ask you to not discuss the particular points as this leads
> mostly to endless discussions.

Addressing the issue of forum:

A series of free software licensing seminars has been initiated by
OpenSales (, as a community resource.  They
are currently held in Palo Alto, CA, every two months (more or less). 
Which is convenient for those of us  at the Center of the Known
Universe, but I realize it's not quite as attractive for those who are
geographically challenged.  If there's an interest in a travelling road
show of same, I'll pass on the suggestion.

Our inaugural session included local Linux luminaries, some large
commercial firm folks, several lawyers (two from private practice,
Mitchell Baker from Mozilla), ESR, and some out-of-town participants. 
The plan is to extend the group as we go along, the first go-round was
something of a shake-down cruise.  I think it was pretty effective
though -- I learned a bit, as did others, and the balance of community
and commercial interests, plus some informed legal knowledge, made for a
productive day.

There are a number of existing and proposed license discussion lists,
the Free Software Business list (fsb at and the GNU discussion
(news:gnu.misc.discuss) being two of the primary ones.  There is another
list being organized by Kevin Lenzo at CMU, specific to dual licensing,
IIRC.  For general legal guidance there are and, as well as the CNI Copyright list
( for copyright-specific
discussions.  There is some interest in the legal lists in free software
| open source issues.

Karsten M. Self (kmself at
    What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?

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