Right to Use

John Cowan jcowan at reutershealth.com
Tue Oct 29 18:51:34 UTC 2002

Lawrence E. Rosen scripsit:

> I think that overstates the case somewhat.  Is that how broadly you read
> section 5?  Perhaps, then, the wording should be cleaned up.
> Suggestions?

It's the phrase "used to provide services or otherwise deliver content".
Practically everything a business does can be lumped into one or both of
those classifications, unless it is a manufacturing business entirely.
When I use Elm (my email client) to reply to a tech-support email,
I am providing service *and* delivering content, and would be deemed a
distributor of Elm, if Elm were OSL-licensed: quod absurdum est.

Home users also fall under this classification if their program interacts
with others over the Internet, for they too are then delivering content.
A multi-player game, then, would make each participant a distributor of
the game.

I have given some thought in the last few days to what phrase could
replace this, but have come up with nothing.  I think you should remove
it entirely, though that will leave a loophole of the following type:

	I download an OSL-licensed program which gives me some sort
	of enhanced expertise: e.g., I can predict the outcomes of
	horse-races.  The application is not suitable for use over a
	computer network (i.e. as a server).

	I add improvements to the program so that it is an even better
	race prognosticator.

	I accept payment from the public to provide horse-race
	information, whether by email or otherwise.  I run the enhanced
	program myself, and return its predictions to the customer.

	You as the original author of the program sue to force me to
	release the modified program under the OSL.  The existing OSL
	gives you a case, because I am rendering services and providing
	content by means of the program.  Without this clause, you
	have nothing.

(I am neglecting any statutory provisions against fortune-telling as
applied to horses.)

John Cowan                                <jcowan at reutershealth.com>     
http://www.reutershealth.com              http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
Yakka foob mog.  Grug pubbawup zink wattoom gazork.  Chumble spuzz.
    -- Calvin, giving Newton's First Law "in his own words"
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