Right to Use

Lawrence E. Rosen lrosen at rosenlaw.com
Tue Oct 29 22:11:53 UTC 2002

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

But so what?  How does that bite?  Merely being a distributor makes no
difference.  You only incur the obligation to publish your source code
when you have created a Derivative Work.

Mere *use* of the software, even to distribute services externally, does
not make you the creator of a Derivative Work.

The proviso of section 1(c) only requires that the Original Work and
Derivative Works be licensed under the OSL.  It does not require that a
distributor of copies of the Original Work publish the source code of
the Original Work.  Indeed, because the OSL is not sublicenseable, that
obligation to publish the source code remains with the original
Licensor, at least for as long as he/she is willing to continue
publishing his Original Work.  See section 3 regarding the grant of
source code license.  So that, too, doesn't bite.

> 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?

Once again you are misreading the OSL.  There is nothing that would
require the data that you process through an open source program to
itself become open source.  So too, if you read a book and use what you
read to perform a task, you owe nothing but gratitude to the author of
the book.  You are stretching the definition of Derivative Work beyond

> 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.

Ahhhh.  I didn't realize you are a distributor of a modified Elm open
source program.  I'll sue you myself if someone will pay the attorney's


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