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Re: <nettime> Re: What's the meaning of "non-commercial"?
Benjamin Geer on Wed, 19 Jan 2005 14:56:39 +0100 (CET)


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Re: <nettime> Re: What's the meaning of "non-commercial"?


Felix Stalder wrote:

> On Sunday, 16. January 2005 06:22, Patrice Riemens wrote:
>>This being said, the clausula that prior permission must be seeked before
>>engaging in _possible_ commercial use does not appear so much of a burden.
>>In a culture of copyright as our own, it is being routinely done all the
>>time.
> 
> This only applies if you assume that each work as a small number of 
> authors, or that these authors are easily identifiable. This, of course, 
> is not the case with major collaborative works. It's next to impossible to 
> identify all the authors of, say, a wikipedia article.

That would be the case whichever licence Wikipedia used.  If a licence 
imposes any restrictions at all, it's possible that someone may wish to 
ask for a special exception.  Moreover, the copyright owner needs to be 
identifiable in order to defend the work's copyright in court.  This 
problem can occur, for example, with works licenced under the GPL (which 
of course places no restrictions on commercial use, but includes other 
restrictions).  The GNU project's solution is to have authors assign 
their copyright to the Free Software Foundation.  The same approach 
could be taken in any project, regardless of the licence used.

> One of the most innovative aspects of FLOSS is that has managed to avoid 
> exactly this distinction, hence you have people from the radically 
> different contexts building upon, and contributing to, the same code-base.

Another way of looking at it is that this is one of the limitations of 
FLOSS, which keeps it from contributing to an alternative to capitalism.

> In many ways, the GPL provides a de-militarized zone. Everyone agrees to 
> leave the big guns at the door.

People who don't like the GPL (because they dislike licences that impose 
any sort of restrictions) disagree with this strongly.  From my point of 
view, it is precisely the GPL's "big gun" -- the requirement that any 
derived works must be released under the same terms -- that makes it 
worth using.

Ben


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