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Licensing and Rape-Proofing your ideals.by deprecated (Priest)
|on Apr 24, 2001 at 00:07 UTC||Need Help??|
Today is a very sad day for me. I just learned that a company I helped get to its feet has been doing despicable things with it.
I dont know if youre familiar with the OpenNap project. Regardless of the ideals behind whether its piracy or not, we created a small community of developers and started working together towards a common goal. The software progressed rapidly. I started running a server in August last year and soon realized that it was important to write perl interfaces for it.
I was approached by MusicCity to help them get their servers online, back when they had 10 servers, cobbled together from spare units. I installed their software, educated their administrators, and configured all the appropriate files. This, to me, was a pretty easy thing to do, but for most, its an endless headache. I did all this in the interest of the community. I had repeatedly asked them "so where are you getting the money for your bandwidth and resources?" I was satisfied with the answer I got: "well, our bosses dont really know we're doing this." Its important to note here that these servers are run on Porn Industry bandwidth and funds. I fell for it, hook, line, and sinker. They finally got to their feet, and began to grow. After they grew, they began to have growing pains that my network had had months ago, and asked what I had done to minimize "lag" and "netsplits." I told them about my perl scripts and shell scripts which I ran both manually and in cronjobs. I gave them a big (> 10 pages) writeup on how to use them, patted them on the tush, and told them to enjoy.
They, however, kept growing. Kept getting bigger, and soon, very few people went anywhere else. This was mostly okay in everyone's eyes because their servers could accomodate 50,000 users. This was great, we were all in one place, united as a community, and protected from the RIAA (MusicCity is offshore by nature of being connected to the porn industry, so it is not susceptible to US Law -- this is awful convenient for them).
Then everything went sour. MusicCity unveiled a new client and a new server this last week. The prohibited filesharing on their servers with all clients but their own. They disconnected the servers but made the client able to span their entire network. So with a non-MC client, you cannot connect to other users, share files, or anything. They deliberately crippled the ability of their users (who trusted them) to make money. Their new client supports ad spaces, and the ability for them to sell (you guessed it) porn. They have a stipulation in the license prohibiting people under the age of 13 on their network entirely and have a note mentioning that content on their network is intended for mature users.
Monks, they took over our community with promises of good wishes, and then fragmented (if you ask me, crushed) that community and closed open-source servers and prohibited open-source clients from being a part of it. This is A Bad Thing.
What really irritates me is they used MY SOFTWARE to do it!!
I distributed my software under the Perl License because I believe in the opensource ideal. Because I believed that they had good intentions. They outright lied to me and, I feel, stole my software, and what it stood for. They corrupted that, and now they are making a profit off of my hard work doing something I dont condone.
What can I do to prevent this happening in the future???
My thought has been to include a "full disclosure clause" in my future software's license. I dont want my software used in conjunction with applications that are not opensource, that are not 100% available to the public. In short, if I cant have access to what you're doing with my software, I dont want you using it there. A friend said "well what about intranets?" My response to that is "that sounds like commercial use to me, and I have been burned one too many times."
I feel so dirty having been a part of this. I really do. Have any of you guys written code that required a license other than the BSD/GPL/Artistic license? Included extra stipulations? Has this happened to you anyone else here before? Is there a way I can express my extreme displeasure with what theyve done in fashion that can be compelling? I clearly have no legal means to pursue this, but I want it made VERY clear that I am unhappy with this.
update: I have pretty well moved on. I am very upset with them, but I am not looking to pursue any action against them. What I would like is opinions from people about what can be done to protect my code from stuff like this in the future. I am particularly interested in what people think of my "full disclosure" clause, above.