Re: [unrev-II] IP Protection & Licensing

From: Eugene Kim (
Date: Sun Feb 13 2000 - 19:33:49 PST

From: Eugene Kim <>

On Sun, 13 Feb 2000, Peter P. Yim wrote:

> Well, Eugene, thank you for pointing this out.
> I guess, limited by space available in the column label, we had to
> summarily represent the various options. Where, (b) represented the
> traditional patent/copyright IP protection route, (d) the GPL/copyleft
> route, and (e) the Free BSD license route. I'm almost certain, you, and
> most others, know what those labeled options were getting are. Anyhow,
> you are technically correct; and I am sure it helps to be more specific
> about it.

Well, since my nitpicking has been made public, allow me to nitpick even
more by pointing out that I wasn't actually nitpicking at all. :-) I
understand that you were limited by space, and that you are well aware
of the complexities of the licensing issues. Reading my comment, I can
see that I could have been far clearer, so I'll try to clarify my comment

You were basically asking two questions: how should the software be
protected, and how should the content be protected? I think it's
important to separate those questions, because the methods for protecting
those two types of content are different. However, you could accurately
generalize in spirit the options for both questions as: completely
proprietary, completely free (public domain), and somewhere inbetween.

I understand that's what you were trying to say, and I answered the
question in that spirit. But the options that were listed were not just
technically inaccurate, they were simply inaccurate. For example,
encryption can be used as a method for protecting intellectual property,
but it's not a form of intellectual property protection itself. Patents
are a valid option for protecting the OHS, but it would not be a valid
option for protecting the DKR content. The method of distribution, free
or not, does not directly address a product's intellectual property
status. (I can distribute proprietary software for free, and I can
distribute GPL software commercially.) Finally, all of the free software
licenses -- GPL, BSD, MPL, you name it -- define the licensing terms for
copyrighted software. So including "copyright" and one of the licenses as
separate options doesn't make sense.

The purpose of this e-mail (other than to defend myself and pick on Peter
a little :-) is to show that the nitty gritty of these licensing issues
are really complex and confusing, but it's important to understand them
thoroughly before passing any kind of judgement. A lot of people get this
stuff wrong, including people in the open source community, and especially
people in the media.


+=== Eugene Eric Kim ===== ===== ===+
|       "Writer's block is a fancy term made up by whiners so they        |
+=====  can have an excuse to drink alcohol."  --Steve Martin  ===========+

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