MOO-cows Mailing List Archive


Re: anyone ever gotten xerox to clarify the MOO license

>>>>> "Alex" == Alex Stewart <> writes:

    >> >>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.
    Alex> [...]
    >> Okay, let me see... here's some GPL stuff:
    Alex> [...]
    >>  b. You must cause any work that you distribute or publish,
    >> that in whole or in part contains or is derived from the
    >> Program or any part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no
    >> charge to all third parties under the terms of this License.
    Alex> [...]
    >>  Even though Pavel wrote a large section of the code, that
    >> code, as long as it still contains White's section, has to be
    >> under the GPL assuming White were to declare it as such.

    Alex> The GPL ploy would essentially remove the possibility of
    Alex> Xerox charging for the MOO server, however please note that
    Alex> absolutely nowhere in the GPL does it say anything about
    Alex> requiring derivative works to be distributed at all.  It
    Alex> would still be possible for Xerox (should they, for some
    Alex> unforseen reason, want to) to simply not license the MOO
    Alex> server at all, for any use.

But it already *HAS* been distributed!

    Alex> Admittedly, this seems even more remote a possibility than
    Alex> them wanting to charge for it, so it's not necessarily
    Alex> something to worry about, but the implication that putting
    Alex> ghond's work under the GPL would somehow force Xerox to live
    Alex> by our terms isn't entirely correct.  They could still take
    Alex> their marbles and go home, as it were.

Yes, indeed they could, but they could not prevent copies that had
already been distributed unde the GPL from being further distributed
under those same terms.  All they could really do is keep from
distributing as yet unwritten changes, since if they did distribute
them, they would fall under the derivative work clause of the GPL.

    Alex> (please note, BTW, that the earlier implication that since
    Alex> the MOO server has already been distributed Xerox would have
    Alex> to license it under the GPL is not correct.  Since Xerox
    Alex> never officially licensed or distributed the MOO server to
    Alex> begin with, all currently existing copies are technically
    Alex> illegal, as is their use, should Xerox decide to enforce
    Alex> their copyright.)

I think that since they knew of its distribution for the past 6 or so
years and did nothing, that the courts would find that they had
abondoned their copyright in the derivative work.  Indeed, this would
probably still be the case -- the courts would likely find that the
original and all its derivatives had fallen into the public domain,
since the law requires you to defend your intellectual property in
order to continue to posses it.

    Alex> -R
    Alex> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Alex> Alex Stewart - - Richelieu @ Diversity
    Alex> University MOO "For the world is
    Alex> hollow, and I have touched the sky."


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