Re: [Legal -again-] Contributions 97 02:47:22 pm

From: Andrew Helm (ashe@IGLOU.COM)
Date: 08/16/97

On Sat, 16 Aug 1997, Daniel Koepke wrote:

> On Sat, 16 Aug 1997, Andrew Helm wrote:
> -+However, whether it's legally valid is another matter. I've once
> -+heard someone say that it's beyond the license's powers to prevent
> -+a person from sending money by his/her own free will (ie- donations).
> -+The law is always a tricky thing. Laws in the US are weird, for instance,
> -+churches can offer "free" donuts after mass and have a donation can
> -+sitting right next to them or offer "free" items over the phone while
> -+requesting a donation at the same time.
> Rumors are rumors are rumors.  And, just as other rumors, that one is
> false.  A copyright holder can specify the exact terms of use of his
> product, including what an owner may or may not do with the product (eg.,
> make monetary gains).

You're assuming everything written in the license is legally valid.
Although a copyright holder may be able to set down whatever terms he
wants, if they aren't valid then they don't mean anything (which was my
point). I know for a fact that just because something is written down
in a license/contract doesn't make it so! (eg- If you use this product,
you must be my slave for 5 years. If you use this product, you must dye
your hair green. If you accept treatment from me, you're no longer allowed
to sue me for malpractice). Whether the no donations part of the CircleMUD
license is valid is something I can't (nor did I try to) say for sure. I
would suggest asking a lawyer or some other equally informed person.

>  Note that the prohibition is not necessarily
> against "donations", but against monetary gain (which covers donations).
> This is just as legal as saying that you cannot take code from me and
> sell it.

First of all, the prohibition is specifically against donations, as well
as other things. I'm curious, have you actually read the license? Here
are some quotes from the license that you may find relevant:

        You must not use CircleMUD to make money or be compensated
    in any way.
        CircleMUD was developed in people's uncompensated spare time
    and was given to you free of charge, and you must not use it to
    make money.  CircleMUD must not in any way be used to facilitate
    your acceptance of fees, donations, or other compensation.
        You must not solicit or accept money or other donations in
   exchange for running CircleMUD.  You must not accept money or other
   donations from your players for purposes such as hardware upgrades
   for running CircleMUD.

As I said, it's pretty clear. Especially the "CircleMUD must not be in
any way be used to facilitate your acceptance of fees, *donations* [my
emphasis], or other compensation" part. :)

However, according to one person who supposedly had a law background, a
license that prevents people from sending in money of their own free will
would be declared unreasonable restrictive and contrary to public policy.
Like I said, I would check with a lawyer since I'm not qualified enough
to give an opinion (beyond the opinion that you ought to see a lawyer :)

> Besides that, anyone decent would abide by the license.

I agree. :)

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