[linux-elitists] A backward look at proprietary licences

Rick Moen rick@linuxmafia.com
Fri Oct 19 20:39:31 PDT 2001


| don't know why I started, but I've been collecting the actual licence
terms of the more common bits of proprietary Linux software I come
across.  It occurs to me, among other things, that it's useful to be
able to point to these bizarre things, to get across some of the key
points about why open source is important.  (Bear in mind that, other
than the one for RealPlayer, these particular ones are pretty tame.)

The licence files are in http://linuxmafia.com/pub/linux/apps/ .
My comments on them follow:


Corel Photo-Paint 9

Highlights:  Not licensed to minors.  You may install it only on two
computers and use it only on one machine at a time.  You may not
reverse-engineer or modify it.  You must be in compliance with export
laws and not associated with countries the USA considers naughty, like
Cuba.  You mustn't be on the USA Treasury or Commerce Department's lists
of naughty people (drug smugglers, terrorists, export-regs violators,
etc.).  You mustn't allow use of the program to violate USA law.  You
mustn't do naughty things with government-regalia images included in the
product, and in general your right to use the included photos and
clipart is severely restricted.


Corel Word Perfect 8

Highlights:  You may install it only on two computers and use it only on
one machine at a time.  Personal, non-commercial use only.  You may not
reverse-engineer or modify it.  You must be in compliance with export
laws and not associated with countries the USA considers naughty, like
Cuba.  You mustn't be on the USA Treasury or Commerce Department's lists
of naughty people (drug smugglers, terrorists, export-regs violators,
etc.).  You mustn't allow use of the program to violate USA law.


Netscape Communicator 4.75

Highlights:  You may not redistribute the program (without a separate
agreement covering that).  Licensed for "personal or internal business
purposes" only.  You may not publish benchmarks without permission.  You
may not reverse-engineer or modify it.  You must be in compliance with
export laws and not associated with countries the USA considers naughty,
like Cuba.  You mustn't be on the USA Treasury or Commerce Department's
lists of naughty people (drug smugglers, terrorists, export-regs
violators, etc.).  Agreement is governed by California law.


Netscape Communicator 6.1

Highlights:  You may not redistribute the program (without a separate
agreement covering that).  Licensed for "personal or internal business
purposes" only.  You may not publish benchmarks without permission.  You
may not reverse-engineer or modify it (with an exception for NPLed/MPLed
code).  You must be in compliance with export laws and not associated
with countries the USA considers naughty, like Cuba.  You mustn't be on
the USA Treasury or Commerce Department's lists of naughty people
(fugitive financiers, export-regs violators, etc.).  The program may
send back information about your computer ("related to the download and
install process") to Netscape.  Agreement is governed by Virginia law
(the only USA state to fully adopt the UCITA law restricting
software-user rights).  Note that California-based Netscape is now owned
by AOL Time Warner of Dulles, Virginia.


Real Networks RealPlayer 8

Highlights:  You may install it only on two computers and use it only on
one machine at a time.  Personal, non-commercial use only, and
specifically not involved in any way with any commercial service or
application.  Real Networks can modify this licence in any way it
pleases, with fourteen days' notice.  You may not use the provided
plug-ins anywhere else.  You may not reverse-engineer or modify it.  You
must be in compliance with export laws and not associated with countries
the USA considers naughty, like Cuba.  You mustn't be on the USA
Treasury or Commerce Department's lists of naughty people (drug
smugglers, terrorists, export-regs violators, etc.).  You may not use
the program in a DMCA-style "circumvention" manner.  You may not
attempt to circumvent the built-in "serial copying management system".
You consent to the program reporting unspecified information about and
your computer and its doings to Real Networks.  You may not circumvent
"digital rights management" functions of plug-ins.  You consent to that
DRM code reporting unspecified unspecified information about and your
computer and its doings to the DRM code's unnamed authors, and to their
substituting anything they want in its place without notice.  You may
not redistribute the program.


Sun Star Office 5.2

Highlights:  You may not redistribute the program.  Licensed for
"internal" use.  You may not reverse-engineer or modify it.  You agree
to comply with export/import laws.


Sun Star Office 6.0 beta1

Highlights:  You may not redistribute the program.  Licensed for
"internal" use only, and only for "evaluation".  You agree to send Sun
testing feedback, which Sun will then own.  Licence expires 90 days
after receipt, except Sun can terminate it with ten days' written
notice, if the software runs into legal claims.  You agree that the
licence, its terms, and pretty much everything about the software are
hush-hush confidential, and that you lose all rights if you blab about
them (unless you can prove that those juicy details leaked out
independently).  You may not reverse-engineer or modify it.  You agree
to comply with export/import laws.




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