License for web application
david at usermode.org
Sat Feb 9 22:11:07 UTC 2002
On Saturday 09 February 2002 03:34 am, Emiliano wrote:
> What I want to accomplish is that if someone deploys a changed version
> of my application he'd be required to publish those changes (or at least
> send them to me and license me to use them in my free version), and that
> the visitors of the generated pages would have a way to identify the
> original author (me) even if the app was changed.
I don't know of any existing OSS license that does this. Rumour has it that
the next version of the GPL will have something to this effect.
There is great controversy here. In order to restrict the usage of the
software in this manner, it seems that you have have to restrict public
performance. You can certainly do this under copyright law, but it brings a
whole new wrinkle into Open Source.
It's doubtful to me that usage of the typical web application counts as
public performance. The reason (IMO) that public performance is addressed in
copyright law is not to lay claim to performance itself as an exclusive right
of the author, but protect the exclusive right of distribution. For example,
during a music recitial the music itself gets distributed as sound. But for a
(typical) web application, no part of the software gets distributed or
transmitted. An exception would be a web application that actually sends
source code to the user, such as a java applet.
Unlike other forms of copyright material, which are wholly content, software
bridges the domains of content, service and tools. Content is the only thing
that copyright is interested in. Usage of the software does not affect
content, which is why no Open Source license restricts usage.
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