I would no more let a lawyer work on a software licensing question
than I would let a programmer work on the design of a software system for
lawyers--especially at the 
        beginning, when they might make an impact.

        Get a grip--lawyers are just another tool. Like all tools, it's
better to have one used in your hands in the way you want at a time of your
own choosing. It's also best to be the first one with that tool in your

        If you retain a lawyer, that lawyer's job is to do what you want--if
you can decide what a license should say (and that _is_ the question, isn't
it? What should be in a license), then that lawyer is ethically bound to
write you a license that says what you want in a way that can be legally
enforced, if possible--and if it isn't possible, to help you discover what
_is_ possible. (I know, I know--insert your favorite lawyer slam here and
get it out of your system. Then consider your own ethical code and whether
your performance in relation to it is comparable to that of the average
lawyer in relation to the ethical rules of his or her profession.)

        All this discussion about what licenses say and don't say indicates
to me that the question of what a license should and shouldn't do is still
an open question. Maybe answering _that_ question should be the priority.

        Speaking strictly for myself, I think anyone who tries to write a
legally binding document without the help of a lawyer is a self-destructive
fool, and I have the scars to prove it.

        Not a fool,

                        John A

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