Subject: Re: copyright issue
To: Jaromir Dolecek <email@example.com>
From: Justin T. Gibbs <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 06/14/1997 09:59:59
>> A brief look at www.NetBSD.org shows that many pages do not conform to
>> CGD's new license. From what I understand of clause 2, almost every page
>> on the site should include the following:
>> This product includes software developed by
>> Christopher G. Demetriou for the NetBSD Project.
>> If the license is to be enforced, it should be enforced unilaterally.
>Are you serious or did you only forgot smiley?
Yes, I was serious. I think it is really important for everyone to
understand what the rammifications of this license are. It was my
mistake to assume that, since NetBSD core accepted this new license
into the tree, that the terms were acceptable enough to the NetBSD
Foundation that they would abide by the license instead of seeking
a waiver. This, to me, only further proves that this new license
is sufficiently difficult to honor as to be a problem.
Many people have said, "Well, if you can't deal with the license, it tells
you exactly how to contact Chris in order to get a waiver." Basically,
there is a trap door in the license, one which the NetBSD Foundation has
already exercised. The problem with trap doors is that they become
immpossible to use if you can't find the person who installed it. For
example, lets say that Chris decides to take a year long road trip through
Europe, discarding the cares and worries of having to read 300 email
messages a day while enjoying his EuroRail pass. '"It was this new 600MHz,
sub 3 pound, 10hr battery life, Alpha notebook that finially made this trip
feasible", said Chris just before signing off the lists.' 8-) How do I get
a waiver from Chris now? Or suppose that Chris decides to take up wind
surfing now that he's moving back to the Bay Area and has an unfortunate
run-in with a speed boat. Now I have to attempt to get a waiver through
his estate. Considering the 75 year lifetime on copyrights, having to deal
with his estate is not that far fetched.
For these reasons, I must consider the license on its base terms
in the event that obtaining a waiver is not possible. Consider
some scenarios of compliance.
Customer> "Hi, I'd like to order your 'NetBSD Galore' DVD product please."
Operator> "Oh, you mean the 'NetBSD Galore' product that contains source
code contributed to NetBSD by Christopher G. Demetriou?"
Or perhaps you might notice that all the messages comming from lists
served by NetBSD.org have this at the bottom:
"NetBSD includes software developed by Christopher G. Demetriou
for the NetBSD Project."
After all, not everyone on these lists is an "existing user or customer"
Or, having to have a similar statement at the bottom of each slide in your
presentation to some imvestment bankers to whom you're pitching your new
embedded system based on NetBSD.
The ramifications of this are pretty large.
>Man, can you understand the license is for people who _don't ask
>Chris for anything else_, people who just steal his code w/o mention
>of his work at all? How _you_ would feel in such a case ? You say:
>okay, someone stealt everything from my house, but never mind,
>let's leave doors open next time again. The thief won't be so rude
>to come to me second time.
This is all a philosophical issue. For me, no one can "steal" the work
that I've contributed to the *BSDs. I wrote what I wrote because it was
fun and interresting, and I hope that it can be useful to the largest
body of people possible. I've even removed "clause 3" from my license
terms because I felt that it was too arduous a requirement for 'single
The only things that would upset me are:
1) Someone removes my copyright/license notice from code that I wrote.
2) Someone didn't abide by the terms of my license. (1 falls unde 2 really)
Even in the case of two, this basically means that they didn't use my
name in any 'mass market' advertisement promoting their product without
The people I care to know that I wrote X code are the same ones that will
go look at the code and see that I wrote X code. I don't need a notice on
"informational or promotional media of any kind" in order to feel good about
>Did _you_ write any very good code and gave it for free
>for general use instead of selling ? What the hell you thing
>one can have from it besides fun from writing and a credit ?
I have, and have long felt that the satisfaction in designing and
writing something useful for our community is the only necessary
reason and reward for doing it.
>I support Chris.
Hey. Chris is a great guy. He does great work, but this isn't about
his work, it's about his license.
Justin T. Gibbs
FreeBSD: Turning PCs into workstations