Licenses (was Re: Should I add a "Micro" PDP11/73 to the Herd?)

From: Bill Yakowenko <>
Date: Fri Jun 23 10:35:20 2000

I have to make one point here, then I'll slink back into lurk mode.

Using the book analogy would not necessarily mean that your licensed
software was legally bound to the *CPU* the way the contents of a book
are bound to the paper. Making it legally bound to the CPU would be
like making the contents of the book legally bound to the room in
which you read it; you sell the house, the book goes with it; you
want to sell the book, sell the house.

Wouldn't it make more sense to have the software contents legally
bound to the original media on which it was delivered? This is how
books work, and (I think) how most people expect software licensing
to work.

Licensing to the CPU was just another way to make sure nobody could
every reasonably transfer their license to anyone else. If the book
publishers did that, they'd be.. uh... out of the mass market.
(How many publishers engrave their work into house walls rather than
print onto paper? And how many engravings of novels have you bought
from them lately?) Thank God the market rejected it!

My point it, software *could* be licensed the way the contents of
books are; it need not imply any ill-conceived notions that hinder
transferrability, such as binding to a CPU. The holder of the original
media could be the legal holder of the license, just as with books.
The book analogy could work just fine, and the market has *not*
rejected it.


ON Thu, 22 Jun 2000, Chuck McManis <> wrote:
] At 06:59 PM 6/22/00 -0400, Allison wrote:
] >Consider this you buy a book, you own it to dispose of how you wish
] >(sell, give or burn). You don't buy a license to read it or X many friends
] >to read it. It is property.
] Sigh. Allison has this part of it wrong, and it is a common problem.
] The book *is* the license. The contents (words etc) are licensed to the
] particular bits of paper and cover that you are holding in your hand. When
] you transfer the paper, the words go with it. You are forbidden from
] copying the words off the paper and putting them on to some other piece of
] paper. What you *own* in the book case is some newsprint, some wax, and
] some binder thread *and that is all*.
] If you *MUST* use the book analogy, (and it has already appeared twice
] now), understand how it would be implemented in computers:
] You license the software and it is licensed (bound) to your CPU.
] You own the CPU and may dispose of it how you wish, however if you
] give it away or burn it or throw it away, the software goes with it!
] Intel tried to make this model possible with their serial number
] scheme but the market rejected it.
] So software, unlike books, is licensed to _people_. (or corporations)
] because people and corporations like to be able to change their CPU and not
] bother with relicensing their software. If you throw away the corporation
] then the license gets thrown away too, just like if you had thrown away the
] book.
... and much more, deleted...
Received on Fri Jun 23 2000 - 10:35:20 BST

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