Subject: Re: copyright questions
To: Andrew Gillham <>
From: Chris G. Demetriou <>
List: current-users
Date: 06/13/1997 10:02:29
> IMHO it is not going to make it *easier* to develop commercial software
> with even one license like this in the tree.  Other licenses that require
> credit in the documentation is very easy to comply with. (provided you
> find *all* of them)

First of all, my motive is _not_ necessarily to make it easier for
people to build commercial products around my code.  As stated before,
if somebody is building commercial software from my code, I want to be
credited for the work i've done, period.  Commercial software vendors
_have_ used code of mine in the past, and _have_ given me correct
credit; it can be done.  As noted, I'm perfectly willing to grant
exceptions, as well, just people need to contact me about it before

Second, VERY FEW licenses in the NetBSD source tree require only
credit in the documentation.  The standard berkeley copyright, which
everyone has cloned, says that the attribution string must be shown in
advertisements if features or use of the software in question is
mentioned.  What does that mean?  If your advertisement mentions IP
networking functionality, on goes the berkeley attribution string.  If
your advertisement mentions support for device X, then it's quite
likely that that author's attribution string goes on.  If your
advertisement mentions support for device Y, ...

My point here is that there are already things mandating credit in
"advertising space."

My problem was that the type of software that I write is typically
_not_ the type of thing that gets mentioned.  It's low-level support
code without which the system could not function at all, but it has
little in the way of "features" except "system functionality," which
is really too general a claim.  Therefore, I wouldn't get attribution
credit, and that bugs me.

As you've noted, credit in documentation is relatively easy to comply
with (modulo finding all of the license notices), though, in the past,
people (including myself) have used the tack of "the source code is
part of the documentation" to cover it.  Realistically, finding all of
the copyright and license notices is too big a job and too much of a
hassle for most distributors of free software.

> I would say that allowing a license that dictates what is done with 
> expensive advertising space is suicidal for the NetBSD Project.  (and
> ad space is just one example of it's all encompassing verbage)

But they're already there, and have been since day one.

I agree, the great number of differing licenses _doesn't_ help the
project, and I've thought (and said) for a long time that the project
should be forcefully pushing for copyright assignments (rather than
softly pushing, as it's doing now).  However, _I_ am not going to jump
on that boat until it's ready to leave the pier.