Subject: Re: question about sendmail-current package license
To: Sean J. Schluntz <>
From: Greg A. Woods <>
List: tech-pkg
Date: 03/22/2002 23:11:43
[ On Friday, March 22, 2002 at 18:16:44 (-0800), Sean J. Schluntz wrote: ]
> Subject: Re: question about sendmail-current package license 
> Ok, then I must have been misunderstanding the meaning of the no-profit
> flag.  I was under the impression that the no_profit was like 
> no-commercial-use (the impression I got from reading the
> file) which would not be true because you can build it and use it
> commercially, just not sell it. 

IANAL, but as far as I've ever been able to find out you can build and
run any freely obtainable software for any purpose whatsoever (eg. for
profit, or whatever).  Copyright law can normally only protect a
copyright owner w.r.t. their right to control the distribution of a
protected work.  If the copyright owner is explicitly making free copies
available to anonymous people (and in most cases even allowing free and
anonymous re-distribution), then they'll have an enormous problem trying
to argue that they didn't intend to allow anyone to obtain a copy for
the purposes of running it in a profit generating scenario.  In most
jurisdictions I know of the execution of a computer program does not
fall under any of the types of distribution described by copyright laws.
(In Canada for sure computer software is treated as a "literary work",
not as something that's broadcast or performed like a play or music.)

Now if you happen to be doing this in a jurisdiction that allows
shrink-wrap licenses, then you might want to be a bit more careful to
learn the exact intentions of the copyright owner....

(I suppose a real anti-profit zealot might try to argue that using their
software to provide a profitable service is an infringement of the moral
rights granted to them by copyright law -- that would be an interesting
case to study!  ;-)

								Greg A. Woods

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