Subject: Re: copyright issue
To: None <current-users@NetBSD.ORG>
From: der Mouse <mouse@Rodents.Montreal.QC.CA>
Date: 06/17/1997 10:48:48
[Pulling quotes from three different messages together...]
Though I've been trying to stay out of this, I have decided to permit
myself one message of comment on it. This has potential to force me
away from NetBSD altogether, which is pretty serious to me.
>> 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.
> Are you serious or did you only forgot smiley ?
Not being the person you're responding to, I can't say...but as I read
the license (at least as included in sys/arch/alpha/alpha/conf.c
version 1.25), that's correct: absent a waiver from cgd, most of the
NetBSD web pages should "conspicuously and completely" display that
notice. NetBSD is certainly a "system" "containing the Software", and
the NetBSD web pages are "informational" and "publicity" materials.
> 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 ?
As I understand it, the incident that prompted this was another
organization taking cgd's work on the alpha port and reusing it without
preserving the attributions. If this is true, it was already in
violation of the prior license; changing the license is unlikely to
stop anyone who's willing to ignore the license anyway.
[patch to gettytab]
>> ! :ap:im=\r\n%s/%m (including software developed by Christopher G. Demetriou for the NetBSD Project) (%h) (%t)\r\n\r\n:sp#1200:
(Which incidentally does not conform to the license, though it is close
enough that I suspect cgd would be unlikely to get a judgement for
infringement, even if he were unreasonable enough to try for one.)
>> I mean, the login prompt is an advertisement of the OS my system
>> running, and it's in "any medium", right? This should *not* be moved
>> to another list; this affects *everyone* using NetBSD.
> Quite honestly, now you're just being silly.
Jason [the above fragment being from one of Jason Thorpe's replies],
have _you_ actually read the license? I mean, in one sense that's a
stupid question, core having read not only the current license but
multiple prior versions of it, but I'm beginning to wonder if you are
reacting based on what you know Chris means rather than what the
license actually says.
Taken from the file mentioned above,
"The Acknowledgment must be conspicuously and completely displayed
whenever [...] any [...] system containing the Software, [is]
mentioned in [...] informational [...] materials of any kind [...]."
Are you saying that NetBSD is not a system containing "the Software",
are you saying that the login banner does not mention it, or are you
saying that it's not "informational material"? It sure looks to me as
though all three of those conditions are true, and hence "[t]he
Acknowledgment must be conspicuously and completely displayed".
> No reasonable interpretation of the license would consider a login
> banner advertising or promotional materials.
No, but it is unquestionably "informational" (unless, I suppose, one
replaces it with a null string).
The license also doesn't say anything about "reasonable". If Chris
doesn't want it to say something unreasonable, he should make sure it
doesn't. As written, I believe it does, and therein lies the problem.
I currently trust Chris to be reasonable in enforcing his license. I
don't trust him to be so forevermore. I _definitely_ don't trust his
estate to be so. I also am uneasy about violating his license even
when confident I won't get in trouble as a result.
> This license does NOT affect users of NetBSD.
Your saying so won't make it so. If you're willing to pay for me to
get a professional legal opinion on the matter, I'll go do that; until
then, I have to rely on my own reading of the license, which clearly
indicates that it _is_ an issue for people who simply want to use
NetBSD - indeed, for anyone who even mentions it in conversation.
> It does affect people who _distribute_ NetBSD, but no more than a
> standard Berkeley-style license does.
I disagree with this too. I'm not sure what your reference for the
"standard Berkeley-style license" is; I'm using sys/kern/uipc_socket.c
version 1.21 as my sample. It requires an acknowledgement only for
"advertising materials". cgd's new license covers "advertising,
marketing, informational or publicity materials of any kind" and
broadens "mentioning features or use of this software" to "any
software, products or systems containing the Software", both of which
The Berkeley license is also a complete non-issue for someone wishing
to give a copy of NetBSD to a friend. Chris's isn't; as I read it, if
I am chatting with a friend and remark that "most of my home machines
are running NetBSD" (informational material that mentions a system
containing the Software), then I must add "This product includes
software developed by Christopher G. Demetriou for the NetBSD
Project.". (Assuming it's a NetBSD version recent enough to include
Yes, this is unreasonable. *That's my point.* Once I can no longer do
a successful build without including new-cgd-license code, I will have
to stop using NetBSD altogether, or else freeze forever at an older
release. (Or else either pepper Chris's name all over the bloody
place, or try to get a waiver (which still wouldn't help anyone I
happen to give a copy to, unless I get a very inclusive waiver), or
else just violate his license.) I really don't want to have to do any
Oh yes, and since this is new-cgd-license NetBSD I'm talking about:
This product includes software developed by
Christopher G. Demetriou for the NetBSD Project.
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