Subject: Re: Licensing constraints...?????
To: Bill Studenmund <>
From: Christopher R. Bowman <>
List: current-users
Date: 08/29/1997 00:26:40
On Thu, 28 Aug 1997, Bill Studenmund wrote:

> On Thu, 28 Aug 1997, Giles Lean wrote:
> > 
> > On Thu, 28 Aug 1997 00:45:21 -0700 (PDT)  William Coldwell wrote:
> > 
> > > To the best of my knowledge, this issue has been resolved, and anonymous
> > > ftp access has been restored.  CTM access has been revoked though, as this
> > > violates licensing terms of many of the contributors to NetBSD.
> > 
> > It has been *claimed* that a CTM distribution of the NetBSD source
> > tree violates some of the license terms of files in that tree.
> > 
> [stuff deleted]
> As I gather, the problem is that someone could subscribe to the CTM
> service and get diffs withouth actually having the underlying file (and
> thus the original license).
> I must admit that I can see that's a problem. Though since CTM is an
> UPDATE service, I think you'd be in a weak position if you subscribed w/o
> having the original work, and then tried to use that code as being
> unencumbered.
> I like the idea of the CTM service (you just get EMail with the diffs,
> rather than having to sup a whole file). Is there a way we can fix it to
> address these concerns?
> I see two possable problems. 1) certain licenses might not allow CTM
> service at all. 2) there might be concerns that CTM could totally get
> around licensing.
> We can't do anything about the first problem (other than ask the author to
> change the license). Can we do somthing about the second?
> How about:
> 1) CTM gets billed as an UPDATE service, and that you are supposed to have
> (and are bound by licensing restrictions there of) the original files.
> 2) As part of the subscription to CTM, you are sent an agreement form
> which says that you have the original files, and that you agree to abide
> by the licenses they contain.
> 3) Every CTM mailing has messages (a stock header?) reminding the
> recipient that the message contains UPDATES to copyrighten code, and that
> the recipient, in subscribing to the service, agreed to abide by and be
> subject to the licenses even though they are not in the message. 

I think that this kind of discussion really misses the point, if the
copyright holder believes that the copyright is or has been infringed
then they may go after the person who receives the files if they are doing
something wrong like purposefully getting the rest of a file with out
the copyright.  This would NOT be a bad thing, after all we "the netbsd
group" are trying to play by the rules and I think most of us would not
be too put out if some one intentionally breaking them, gets what is
comming to them.  The real problem is that that the liscense isn't a
prohibition on a person who doesn't yet have the file, it is a prohibiton
on the actions of a person who already does have the file, ie the person
who provides the CTM service since they are the person doing the
redistribution.  They are the person who clearly bear liability since
they are the person providing redistribution without the copyright which
is the action specifically prohibited in the copyright.

Now, to take this discussion in a new direction, in looking on the page I notice that
no mention of derivitave works are mentioned, and that there is no specific
clause the even places derivative works under the Berkley copyright
would anyone care to speculate that this could be interprited to mean that
only the files as they orriginally appeared in say Net/2 fall under the
copyright and derivative works do not?

Actully looking agin I do see "with or without modification" but I notice
that the GNU copyright statments specifically use the words derivative works
are these words/terms terms of art with specific meanings that I am not
aware of?

Christopher R. Bowman
My home page