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Help with License Agreement for an Electronic Book about an Open Source

From: Justin Simoni
Subject: Help with License Agreement for an Electronic Book about an Open Source Product
Date: Thu, 09 Jan 2003 03:22:18 -0700
User-agent: Microsoft-Entourage/

Hello Everyone, 

I'm currently putting the finishing touches on a small book/advanced manual
I have written on an Open Source (GPL) program. I intend to sell the book
for a small fee. People who have purchased the book will receive a copy of
the book via email, the book will be in an HTML format. As an incentive for
purchasing the book, I'm allowing the purchaser to receive updated versions
of the text for a period of time. Let's say, for a month.

Along with the book/manual part of the download, I also want to distribute
Add on scripts and/or programs that work with the main Program I'm writing
about. I may also want to include the program itself. These scripts and
programs will most likely also be GPL'd, since they use Libraries included
with the Main program, which are GPL'd (not LGPL's, but I'm open to other
licensing schemes) themselves.

I may also derive some of the content of the book purchase from inline
documentation of the GPL'd program. In this case since the program is
written in Perl, I'll be deriving this content from it's pod. I may also use
snippets of code as content of the book.

May point in selling the book is to fund the project and to also keep myself
fed. At the moment, I'm living off of government issue Orange Juice and
Tomato Sauce, as well as almond butter - all given to me by a friend. But,
hey, if the only thing you have to eat is Almond Butter, things ain't too
bad I guess (and this is slightly far-fetched; I'm in Poor College Student
that's been laid off from nice Programming Job - mode)

When distributing the book, I want to make sure the book part is protected
as being copyrighted and owned by me. I want to keep it as my intellectual
property. The text is not to be treated as an Open Source Book. (underline,
highlight, what have you)

I want to have a separate terms and licensing agreement for the accompanied
programs and scripts; be them Open Source, Closed, Free, whatever, the
licensing agreements being tied to the individual scripts/programs. Most, if
not all the programs and scripts included with this distribution will be
Open Source (GPL'd) software.

My question to you is, how do I do this properly? I want the Book to be a
source of income for me but I do not want to step on the toes of the
conditions of the GPL license. It's unclear if the sourcecode, put into form
such as a book makes the entire book opensource. It does makes sense that
you can treat the book as just a storage medium, and no, the book won't be
able to be compiled into a program :). I have no problem and in fact would
encourage people pasting the code I present for their own projects.

I also understand that there is no part of the GPL that says I cannot charge
for the download of GPL's stuff too, and because it's Perl (ie, no binary
needed) there's no gotcha on that either.

So I seek out your advice.


Justin Simoni

+ Artist,
+ Freelance Web Design,
+ Internet Application Development | | 720.436.7701

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