Sale of "free" stuff on eBay

From: Dave Dunfield <>
Date: Wed Nov 24 05:24:07 2004

> Tonight, I looked at Volume 5 and in the CD table of contents (link
>above), I see "altair32 Project Altair" and two other related
>listings. As you all know, this is my baby and this person never had the
>courtesy to ask my permission to distribute my albeit free software.
> Am I crazy here? Should I contact this guy and ask him to remove it?
>Should I ask him to place a link to the project page instead? How about
>modifying the listing to include a "permission granted" message?
> Any thoughts on this?

Hi Rich,

Personally, I don't have a problem when people include my free stuff on a collection
CD which is nominally priced - what they are selling is convienence, not the material
on the disk (which can be freely downloaded).

Perhaps I appreciate this more than most, because I have to download through a dial-up
connection. On a good day I get 25kbps - it takes *HOURS* to download even a few 10s
of megs, let alone a CD or DVDs worth. It is often worth it to me to pay $10-$20 for
a CD containing the material I want rather than to try and keep a connection up long
enough to download it.

Dynacomp is not "some guy", they have been around a LONG time. I have some titles for
my Altair which were purchased from them back in the late 70s. I think they are a
reasonable company, and given the amount of material on the CD, and the nature of the
target audience, I doubt they are making a "killing" from your material.

I understand that you may feel it is somehow "wrong" that someone makes a bit of
money from your material, however consider:

- Given the amount of material on the CD, the percentage which can be attributed
  to your project is VERY small. The overhead in contacting everyone on the CD,
  and handling "royalties" would prohibitive in this case, and such collection
  CDs would bascially not be possible.

- Do you really think the price of the CD would go up/down if any one individual
  project is added/removed (Given that it is freely available elsewhere).

- As noted above, Dynacomp is a real company - this is no different than Walnut
  Creek or other companies which sell compilation CDs. I've seen LOTS of my stuff
  on these, and have never been contacted for permission - and it has never bothered

- What about ISPs ... if you don't want anyone to charge for a CD containing your
  project, then why do you allow people to charge for a network connection which
  is used to deliver your project? - To my mind, this is really not much differece,
  both are a form of media.

- I expect part of your reaction is due to the fact that this is Ebay, not so much
  the fact that someone has included your project in a collection (which must have
  happened many times before).

>Should I contact this guy and ask him to remove it?

Do you have a reason why people who purchase this collection should not have easy
access to your project?

>Should I ask him to place a link to the project page instead?

Give that I can find Altair32 with google (or any other search engine) easily on
the first try, then do you really think it necessary to clutter up the Ebay listing
with links (remember, if they do it for you, they should do it for everyone else).
I don't think people normally use Ebay as a "links" resource - the listing is long
enough as it is...

>How about modifying the listing to include a "permission granted" message?

Again, would this really benefit people looking at this collection? Would it really
benefit you? See above comments regarding the size of the listing. Do you think
anyone who is considering this collection really cares who explicitly have their
permission (given that the material is freely available anyway).

Returning to the ISP analogy, perhaps since people download via their network connection,
all ISPs should be required to explicitly obtain permission from every author of every
project which is available on the net, and display individual "permission granted"
messages and links for each one (to make sure you are aware of this important detail)
before allowing you to proceed with your connection (where you might access one of those
projects)??? - Would doing so benefit anyone? [Yeah, this is stretching a point,
however most of the people who buyt the CD will not access every project on it either,
it is just a form of bulk media]

Sorry to rant - but this is a pet peeve of mine - CD/DVD collections are one of the fews
ways that I can obtain large "free" files. Authors who prevent their works from being
included on these are going out of their way to make it very hard for me to obtain them
(to no actual benefit to themselves).

Granted it would be nice if they asked, but this is probably a lot of extra overhead in
the preparation of a large project, and you *DO* make the project freely available to
people who live in the city / have high-speed-connections.

There was a similar thread a few months back, when one of the guys who maintains a site
of archived manuals got upset that another guy was including some of "his" manuals on a
DVD that he was selling for $30 (and gives to anyone who contributes material which is
how I got it) - Insisting that I download the material prevents me from bring able to
obtain most of the larger manuals (some of which I would really like to get). - Really
annoying, considering that he doesn't have permission from most of the original authors,
and claims to be preserving them and "making them available" ... but apparently only to
the "high-speed" elite (but again I rant :-)

Lets have a show of hands ... anyone participatng in this list ever distrbure any material
without obtaining explicit permission from the orignal author?

Dave Dunfield
dave04a (at)    Dave Dunfield
dunfield (dot)  Firmware development services & tools:
com             Vintage computing equipment collector.
Received on Wed Nov 24 2004 - 05:24:07 GMT

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