Right to Use

John Cowan jcowan at reutershealth.com
Tue Oct 29 19:50:48 UTC 2002

Lawrence E. Rosen scripsit:

> Amazon takes an open source data base program and modifies it to provide
> data to users on the Internet.  Should Amazon have to release its source
> code modifications?

The thing is, Section 5 makes them a distributor even if they merely
use the original code without modifications.  That's what really bites.

In fact, I don't see that requiring users of Original Works to be treated
as distributors serves your goals at all.  Adding a sentence like 
"Use of the unmodified Original Work shall not be considered
External Deployment" would, I think, be sensible.

> Why should Amazon not release its source code in these situations, as it
> would have been otherwise required to do if it transferred a physical
> copy of its derivative work to another company's computer?  Are these
> the same activities with only minor technological differences?

Why, no.  Is it all one whether you give legal advice by consulting your
lawbooks, or sell copies of those lawbooks to your clients?  If you are
forbidden to do the latter, should you be forbidden to do the former
as well?

> As a practical matter, you undestand, nobody is going to go after your
> private, home Elm program.  

Well, if I sent an email to someone who has cause not to like me,
he might suddenly have standing to sue: I would not be not fulfilling the
obligations of a distributor to him.

My corporate data's a mess!                     John Cowan
It's all semi-structured, no less.              http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
    But I'll be carefree                        jcowan at reutershealth.com
    Using XSLT                                  http://www.reutershealth.com
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