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Old 05-16-2005, 01:46 PM   #16
crinklestein
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And can you give me the link to the site you got that from? Thanks!
 
Old 05-16-2005, 01:50 PM   #17
crinklestein
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Found it! http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.html
and http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html
I'm going to email those idiots back right now!
 
Old 05-16-2005, 02:03 PM   #18
crinklestein
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Here is the email I just sent to them.

This comes directly from the GPL itself at http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html

"Does the GPL allow me to sell copies of the program for money?

Yes, the GPL allows everyone to do this. The right to sell copies is part of the
definition of free software. Except in one special situation, there is no limit on
what price you can charge. (The one exception is the required written offer to
provide source code that must accompany binary-only release.)"

AND at http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.html

"Many people believe that the spirit of the GNU project is that you should not charge money for distributing copies of software, or that you should charge as little as possible -- just enough to cover the cost.

Actually we encourage people who redistribute free software to charge as much as they wish or can."

"Since free software is not a matter of price, a low price isn't more free, or closer to free. So if you are redistributing copies of free software, you might as well charge a substantial fee and make some money. Redistributing free software is a good and legitimate activity; if you do it, you might as well make a profit from it."

"The term ``selling software'' can be confusing too
Strictly speaking, ``selling'' means trading goods for money. Selling a copy of a free program is legitimate, and we encourage it.

However, when people think of ``selling software'', they usually imagine doing it the way most companies do it: making the software proprietary rather than free.

So unless you're going to draw distinctions carefully, the way this article does, we suggest it is better to avoid using the term ``selling software'' and choose some other wording instead. For example, you could say ``distributing free software for a fee''--that is unambiguous."

Now this is the real kicker:
"High or low fees, and the GNU GPL
Except for one special situation, the GNU General Public License (20k characters) (GNU GPL) has no requirements about how much you can charge for distributing a copy of free software. You can charge nothing, a penny, a dollar, or a billion dollars. It's up to you, and the marketplace, so don't complain to us if nobody wants to pay a billion dollars for a copy.

The one exception is in the case where binaries are distributed without the corresponding complete source code. Those who do this are required by the GNU GPL to provide source code on subsequent request. Without a limit on the fee for the source code, they would be able set a fee too large for anyone to pay--such as a billion dollars--and thus pretend to release source code while in truth concealing it. So in this case we have to limit the fee for source, to ensure the user's freedom. In ordinary situations, however, there is no such justification for limiting distribution fees, so we do not limit them.

Sometimes companies whose activities cross the line of what the GNU GPL permits plead for permission, saying that they ``won't charge money for the GNU software'' or such like. They don't get anywhere this way. Free software is about freedom, and enforcing the GPL is defending freedom. When we defend users' freedom, we are not distracted by side issues such as how much of a distribution fee is charged. Freedom is the issue, the whole issue, and the only issue."

So since you say that Mepis still falls under the GNU GPL and this documentation is directly from the GNU GPL website it seems that, as a company, you have no rights to dictate to anyone whether or not it can be sold and how much or little can be charged for it if it IS sold.

So yes, I will be contacting your legal department about this as well as the Mepis website.
 
Old 05-16-2005, 02:13 PM   #19
crinklestein
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I contacted their legal department with this as the opening:

"I have been informed that I am not able to sell Mepis Linux for any sort of profit whatsoever. I have been told that Mepis has NEVER been able to be sold for a profit. I had my ebay auctions canceled as a result of this by your company. I remember seeing on the Mepis website that selling Mepis was completely legal and encouraged under the GNU GPL. Now I am being told differently by your company. "

Then I included the above post and ended with:
"So since you say that Mepis still falls under the GNU GPL and this documentation is directly from the GNU GPL website it seems that, as a company, you have no rights to dictate to anyone whether or not it can be sold and how much or little can be charged for it if it IS sold. As it says, I could charge a billion dollars and there is nothing that can be done about it. So please, tell me how it is that you can claim to still fall under the GNU GPL and then tell me that I can't sell this product. Please tell me what you determing to be "a profit". How can you know what my expenses are for selling this on Ebay? What price would you determinge to be non profit? Why would I buy Mepis from you and then sell it for FREE?! This is direct violation of the GNU GPL that you claim to fall under.

I await your response."
 
Old 05-16-2005, 02:28 PM   #20
crinklestein
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I got a reply from the first person there saying that I was fully able to sell it if I wanted to but that I had to remove the Mepis name and logos from the packaging and from the auction. Then they invited me to check out Redhat or Suse. I told them thanks for the info and how funny I thought it was that they changed their minds so quickly. That they don't own the software, only the name and logo. I thanked them for their recomendation that I try Redhat or suse but informed them that, due to the GPL being what it is, I am not required to do so.
 
Old 05-16-2005, 03:02 PM   #21
Komakino
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A victory for the little guy!!
 
Old 05-16-2005, 03:44 PM   #22
crinklestein
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They just replied again saying, "There is no change in our policy or in what we said. You may resell
this
software at a profit by removing ALL MEPIS logos and names in the
installer
and throughout the entire application. Control Center is also
trademarked.
If you sell MEPIS with it's trademarks and copyrights again your
auctions
will be removed. If you sell MEPIS and ship the product with the
trademarks
and copyrights intact you will be in violation of copyright and
trademark
laws.

The GPL does not include copyrights and trademarks..."
 
Old 05-16-2005, 07:04 PM   #23
KimVette
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Quote:
Originally posted by crinklestein
I contacted the Mepis team at vero@technalign.com and they tell me that it was NEVER able to be sold for a profit. Only sold for free or given away. Then they have the balls to invite me to PURCHASE it from them at 50% off so that I can sell it for FREE on Ebay. Why the hell would I do a thing like that!?!?!

Anyone have any comments on this?
What they are telling you is completely contrary to both the letter and spirit of the GPL.
 
Old 05-17-2005, 12:09 AM   #24
foo_bar_foo
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Quote:
Originally posted by crinklestein
If you sell MEPIS and ship the product with the
trademarks
and copyrights intact you will be in violation of copyright and
trademark
laws.

The GPL does not include copyrights and trademarks..."
they have a legal right to say that
and that stuff is explicitly stated on the Mepis website
after all you are making money on their trademark and they have a right to decide if that's ok with them or not.

Mepis/Libranet and the like package debian in a way that is more accessable -- that is thay add their own installers and other junk and it takes alot of work and they make money that way. It's a transition product for people hopefully to then if they like it learn to use debian which is as free as free can get. Mepis takes it one step further and makes a bootable cd version.

if you want to distribute a bootable Linux cd try Stux linux but if people don't buy it it's proof you were profiting from Mepis logo which is different than "Linux" and costs them money in marketing and what not

it is possible to develope your own distribution based on mepis by renaming and changing the graphics
like FreeDuc PinkTie and others have done to other distributions
 
Old 05-17-2005, 08:08 AM   #25
KimVette
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Quote:
Originally posted by foo_bar_foo
they have a legal right to say that
and that stuff is explicitly stated on the Mepis website
after all you are making money on their trademark and they have a right to decide if that's ok with them or not.
Actually, they don't. You just can't represent yourself as Mepis.

What they're doing is akin to say, Sony telling Best Buy they cannot advertise that they are selling what are actually Sony televisions.

Stating the name of the product and showing pictures of the packaging, etc. is NOT contrary to any trademark law, copyright, or anything else. What they are accusing you of is figments of their imagination. If I were in your place I would file suit against Mepis. Seriously. Companies like them are bad for the Linux community, and Open Source community at large.

--Kim
 
Old 05-17-2005, 11:37 AM   #26
crinklestein
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I think the Sony analogy is a little off because Best Buy bought the TV's from Sony or from another company that bought them from Sony. In other words, Sony got paid for the purchase of those TVs. Mepis didn't. I can kinda see now how they own the copyright to the name and logo. If I can find out how to remove those from the installer maybe I'll redistribute it but it seems a little odd that they can make a free product a NON FREE PRODUCT just by slapping a name and logo to it. If that could be done wouldn't Bill Gates have done that long ago and made the entire Linux community non exhistant?
 
Old 05-17-2005, 11:59 AM   #27
rignes
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Quote:
Originally posted by crinklestein
I wanna sell Linux on Ebay because people BUY Linux on Ebay.
How does one go about selling Linux on ebay and actually make a profit?
 
Old 05-17-2005, 12:17 PM   #28
crinklestein
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Put up auctions that are descriptive, have lots of screenshots, point out all the free stuff that comes with it that Windows doesnt. It really sells itself.
 
Old 05-17-2005, 12:23 PM   #29
Genesee
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Quote:
Originally posted by crinklestein
I got a reply from the first person there saying that I was fully able to sell it if I wanted to but that I had to remove the Mepis name and logos from the packaging and from the auction. Then they invited me to check out Redhat or Suse. I told them thanks for the info and how funny I thought it was that they changed their minds so quickly. That they don't own the software, only the name and logo. I thanked them for their recomendation that I try Redhat or suse but informed them that, due to the GPL being what it is, I am not required to do so.
great job following through on this crinklestein

I agree completely with the poster above that this kind of behavior is contrary to the spirit and philosophy behind GNU/Linux. I believe it's especially reprehensible considering that their entire operation is built on leveraging work that thousands of people put into Linux and donated to the community, for FREE.

2 points:

1) you may want to notify the FSF Compliance Lab and describe your ordeal - they are experts in these issues: http://www.fsf.org/licensing/compliance.html

2) spread the word about this, and consider shifting your efforts to other distros that are truly free in the GPL/GNU sense - Debian, Slackware, and Gentoo come to mind, but there are many other great ones out there that deserve your support.
 
Old 05-17-2005, 12:41 PM   #30
crinklestein
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Excellent! Thanks for the link. I will definitely be notifying them about this. I agree that it is reprehensible for them to take years worth of work that was done for FREE and then simply slap a logo over it and copyright the whole thing. I have been spreading the word about this and will continue to do so. I belong to alot of message boards.
 
  


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