[thelist] Copyright ownership under LGPL

the head lemur headlemur at lemurzone.com
Mon Jun 14 23:12:57 CDT 2004

> The next issue is protecting the identity of the client (which is another
> issue). I agree that David has not supplied any particulars of the
client -
> fine. But will David never put this client on his portfolio or resume? I
> suppose that's a moot point at this stage. It's also secondary to the
> concern above IMHO.

The interesting thing about paranoid types is the off chance that someone is
really out to get them.

Let's review the terms and conditions of lists like this. This is an email
list that is devoted to talking and discussing things weblike. As a list
that ''You Have to Subscribe To'', you understand that not only are your
questions, comments, and snarky replies like this one seen by every other
active list member, but in the case of this list, is also archived and
available on the internet.

So if you are worried about confidentiality, after reading this part turn
off your computer, open the case and destroy the harddrive with a 10 pound
sledge hammer and scatter the pieces in the largest body of water you can
fine and seek other things to do with your time.

Playing the alleged 'confidentiality/professionalism' card is so disengenous
as to almost defy belief. No personal information has been imparted, nor has
confidentiality been breached.

The issue is not one's belief in some standard of behaviour or
professionalism but an inquiry regarding the issue of 'copyright'  which is
an area that woefully undercovered and is not well understood by amateur,
intermediate and professional designers and pixel mechanics.

We are not alone.....

The Lawyer industry makes large sums of money on copyright issues, and
subsidiary rights, such as print, audio, electronic, and format.  Recent
changes in law has further muddied the waters of what rights are actually
created, what can be sold, assigned, licensed, or given free of charge.

Let's review his actual request.
 My client has also requested that he own the copyrights to everything I
 make for him; realizing that it would be impractical and unethical for
 me to sell my copyright to my open source software, I told him that that
 would be impossible as the LGPL does not allow me to sell the copyright
 and still distribute the software as Free and Open Source Software
 (since it is no longer mine).  He did not accept those terms easily.

 The software I am making for him would be a heavily-modified offspring
 of my open source software, yet nevertheless, largely based on the
 original open source software.

 Work on this project hasn't yet started, but I am about to begin writing
 a contract, though I'm not really sure what my options are here.  Are
 there any comments or other pieces of advice someone can give me?

David has for the most part answered his own question. Free and Open Source
is just that. You can download it, play with it, get it to stand up and
quack like a duck. You can charge to package it, like redhat, but you still
must abide by the terms and conditions of the GPL. Which includes providing
the source code so that someone else can make it bark like a dog.

His client does not understand this.

>From what is above, his client wants to have his cake and eat it too. He
wants David to do the work, and then he wants to turn around and package it.

David needs to turn his client over to a guy like Ken, who may create the
lalapalooza of web applications in the dark under a full moon, and then
offer it to an unsuspecting public like a used car salesman, encumbered with
restrictions like you find on every piece of Microsoft Software.

Then they can both stay up late scouring the web for miscreants, ne'er do
wells, and even pirates using their software without paying for it, and
spend the largest part of their incomes and savings suing every one in
sight, like SCO. The lawyers will get rich, these guys will get 15 minutes
of fame and the rest of the world will probably not even bother to blog it.

the head lemur
Interviews: http://www.lemurzone.com/pixelview/
blog: http://theheadlemur.typepad.com/
Community: http://www.evolt.org

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