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Re: Where from to download ViaVoice outloud
... I don't think anyone here is prepared to state that Microsoft
doesn't sell commercial software.
My apologies: I was not clear. I was asking whether ViaVoice is
commercial restricted software or commercial free software? If IBM
abandons ViaVoice, could someone else take up the project, or is all
that work lost?
Microsoft sells commercial restricted software. We all agree on that.
Tim Cross <email@example.com> says,
I don't agree with your definition of commercial software. Any
software which is paid for in my opinion is by definition
I agree with that. I disagree with Tim following statement,
Just for the record, I don't consider things like RedHat, SuSE and
other Linux distributions as commercial software. These companies are
not selling the software, they are selling the process of assembling
the software into a distribution, support and other value added
It is certainly true that in addition to selling the service of
transferring a copy to you, they are selling "the process of
assembling the software into a distribution" and so on. Clearly, if
you call these sales "commercial transactions", then they are
associated with selling services, as well as with selling CDs with
software on them.
Is "commercial" the right term to use?
Historically, the word commerce referred especially to the buying and
selling of commodities over long distances, as traders did in the
You could say that no lawyer or plumber who sells his services is
engaged in commerce, and restrict the notion of commerce to the sale
of hard goods, like computers and CDs with software on them. But
among the people I talk with, the notion of the word commerce is not
Indeed, investors, accountants, and tax authorities all think of
companies such as HP and IBM, as well as Red Hat and SuSE, as being
engaged in commerce. When one of them sells a package, regardless
whether that package is a piece of hardware, like a CD or computer, or
a promise to provide some sort of service, that sale is considered a
Simply because you purchase something in a free competitive market
does not allow you to copy it or redistribute it, or even modify
That does not make sense: how can a competive entrepeneur have
freedom to enter such a market unless he is permitted to manufacture
and sell the product? It is not a free market if he cannot or may not
Copyrights, patents, and other such governmentally specified
restrictions determine whether an entrepeneur may sell a CD with a
song on it. These restrictions reduce the freedom of competitors to
enter a market.
Just because you pay for something does not give you its
copyrights, which means your ownership comes with restrictions.
Yes, very true: as lawyers say, ownership consists of a "bundle of
rights", with different bundles for different entities.
People argue over which bundles are just.
A friend of mine recently pointed out a conflict that is distant from
software, but illustrates the legal issues: in the western US some
landowners own the surface rights to their land but not the subsurface
rights. They argue that they should have a different "bundle of
rights" than the courts say.
This is because the owners of the subsurface mineral rights (often oil
companies) have a right of access which can mean that the surface of
the land is torn up when wells are drilled. The surface landowners
think their bundle of rights should include a right to compensation
when the subsurface owners damage the fields. The subsurface owners
Robert J. Chassell Rattlesnake Enterprises
http://www.rattlesnake.com GnuPG Key ID: 004B4AC8
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