MOO-cows Mailing List Archive


Re: anyone ever gotten xerox to clarify the MOO license before?

>It would seem to me that since the MOO code is a derivitive work based
>on a previous work by Stephen White, aka ghond, that if he were to GPL
>the original work, then that would solve the whole problem for once
>and for all: Xerox would either have to make MOO fall under the terms
>of the GPL, or not distribute MOO.  But it is too late for them to not
>distribute MOO, since that has already been done.  

Uh, sorry, but there are several misunderstandings of the law in here.
Although Mr. White can release his own work into the public domain, that
has no effect on the copyrightable modifications and extensions added by
Pavel Curtis (a Xerox employee).  Of course, it'd clear up some ambiguity
if he *did* make a public statement to that effect, but then again, I
suggest that perhaps he shouldn't, for some, uh, interesting reasons.

If Xerox ever does assert its right to royalties, and desires to
commercially distribute the LambdaMOO server, they would have to get
permission from Stephen White (unless Pavel knows with assurance that all
of the originally transmitted code has been replaced).  Although they still
have full copyright and other rights in the LambdaMOO server for Pavel's
work, unless there was some sort of release signed, they wouldn't have
distribution rights.  It might be that he gave the code to Pavel to develop
with the understanding the results would be publicly available (clearly
implied), but *not* with an OK to be selling it or charging royalties.  So
I'd say to Stephen if he actually reads this list, "Don't give away your
copyright or make your work public domain! We may want you to beat Xerox
with that stick sometime in the future.

Also, just because the work has been distributed, doesn't diminish the
copyright.  Xerox may, under law, stop distributing for free the LambdaMOO
server at any time.  I'm sure that their game plan in such things is to
wait and see if there's any commercial potential sufficient to recoup the
expenses of a commercial release.  So far no, but potentially yes.  But
that's what labs like PARC are about.  Let'm play and see if they come up
with something commercially viable.

By the way, there were many useful comments in that Nov. 93 discussion
though there were a lot of postings with incorrect statements of copyright
law, too.  There were also some very well informed posts following up my
posting <>
asking for LambdaCore copyright/license clarification on 8/29/96
<>, though no
LambdaMOO wizards chose to respond to that.  Ah well....

   Eric Mercer <>  phone and fax (404) 685-0918
   DU Services, Manager   
   Diversity University, Inc.
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