[PD] getting ripped off...

IOhannes m zmoelnig zmoelnig at iem.at
Tue Sep 13 20:43:27 CEST 2005

hard off wrote:
> as far as i know...and from what i heard from miller's talk which was
> recorded at the icmc recently....the pd licence is really very
> open...and you can do whatever you want with it nearly.

true, but unfortunately i (not being a lawyer) doesn't help you much here.

> so what i'm guessing is that it would be up to you to take any steps
> towards 'owning' or copyrighting your own work.

not really.
software developped for an employer might well belong to the employer 
(normally a "private" employer, but it might be true for university too 
- depending on the law wherever you are) and not to the developer who 
did all the work (i too have to point you towards the millermax/ircam thing)
this might well be defined in the fine-print.

as with our institute we are developping a _lot_ with pd, some things 
are open sourced (GPL, after some discussion) and others are totally 
proprietary (industry corporation: you often find you cannot do much if 
you do such things)

the point is, that your employer could allow you to publish several 
things under a GPL-license (you have to check with them)

pd's license is very free, allowing you to nicely use it for totally 
commercial/proprietary projects.
the thing is different with external libraries: a lot of them are 
licensed under GPL.
while i am not entirely sure, whether using a GPL-external can be 
considered as "linking against a library" (but i am rather positive 
about it), this would mean, that such patch would need to be GPLed too.
again you should talk with your employer, whether it is ok for them if 
you use such libraries.
i don't think it is a very good idea if they have very clear ideas about 
IP, and you just use GPL-libraries and therefore claim that everything 
you do is GPLed too. i guess they might just decide to not distribute 
the software (that belongs to them) at all, so the license (which only 
comes to action when it comes to distributing) has no impact at all.

on the other side, you might well try to release as much software as 
possible with a free license right now before you talk to them, in order 
to get a foot in the door.

however, everything you write in your spare time (when nobody is paying 
for it) is your own property and you do with it whatever you like (like 
licensing it in terms of freedom). i have written GPL'ed software while 
being at our institute when there hasn't been a discussion about that yet.

> but really...i find it very hard to believe that anyone would ever try
> to steal your patches.  what would they have to gain?  who's going to
> pay money for patches that run in a system that is otherwise
> completely open source?

people that do not have the knowledge to write the patches themselves ? 
who is going to pay for proprietary software on linux at all ? people do!

> university students....some of them are so full of conspiracy
> theories....take what they say with a grain of salt i reckon.

unfortunately i am no student any longer. and of course it is highly 
unlikely that anybody will sue you, just because you have written and 
freed a nice sequencer.


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