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- To: cl-steering@SU-AI.ARPA
- Subject: Copyrights
- From: "Scott E. Fahlman" <Fahlman@C.CS.CMU.EDU>
- Date: Fri, 9 May 1986 02:39 EDT
- Sender: FAHLMAN@C.CS.CMU.EDU
This business of copyrights is a make-or-break issue. We've got to get
this settled to everyone's satisfaction, and we can't wait around for
lawyers to do it at their own usual pace or we'll lose at least a year.
We need to get an agreement in principle between our group, ANSI, and at
least one of Lucid or Digital Press before we can start serious work on
the new specification document.
Bob Mathis says that ANSI needs to make some money on the publication of
the standards document. OK. An interesting question is how much money
they need to make. I have no objection to ANSI making some money on the
document. Presumably they will put the money to good use. But if
ANSI's need to make money from this document means that companies cannot
quickly and easily get permission to duplicate the document, that nobody
will know for sure what the rules are for online use, and that students
have to pay some arbitrarily high price for a copy, then I for one am
not going to particpate in producing such a document. There are so many
possible mistakes I haven't made yet that I'm not going to waste time
making the old ones over again. We've got to have some clear
understandings about these issues before we begin.
I wonder if the following would fly: the manual carries the same
copyright notice as before, with blanket permission for verbatim
copying, but the notice is changed to say that anyone making a hardcopy
must pay ANSI, say, $2. If a publisher or manufacturer prints up a ton
of the manuals, ANSI gets a decent royalty; if a university prints up
100 copies, they can either be honest and pay up or they can break the
law. ANSI would print up some official copies of their own, for which
they could charge whatever they usually do.
There would be no charge for online copies, since it is impossible to do
the accounting. If anyone cares, the charge could apply to copies
distributed on tape, floppy, or optical disk. Lucid and Digital Press
would of course retain full, free, and unrestricted rights to their own
curent documents, but if they want to make copies of the final ANSI
document, they would have to pay like anyone else.
ANSI would make out just fine on that, I think, and the $2 charge
wouldn't bother anyone too much. We would have the nearly-free right to
reproduce the document that we want.
I suppose that if ANSI doesn't want to put all of this into the
document, I would settle for a written agreement between them and us
that they would grant such a licesne to anyone within a month of
receiving the request, and that the royalty would not be more than $2
per copy. And if they break this agreement, or if this document is not
adopted as an ANSI standard, it becomes public-domain.
Bob, can you get a reading on whether ANSI would agree to something like
this? We can lawyerize it all later.