Subject: Re: README: -current broken for a while
To: Chris G. Demetriou <>
From: Brad Salai <>
List: current-users
Date: 09/03/1997 16:24:44
At the price of a little redundancy for the participants, it would help the
viewers, (me at least) to understand this a little better if we knew what
the real issues were.

I take it that the licenses are different in some way, but how?

Distributing code, or any copyrightable works without a copyright notice
isn't fatal to the copyright as it was years ago. At most, it leaves open a
possible claim of innocent infringement, but I believe an inadvertant
omission could be easily cured by adding the notice as soon as the omission
was noticed.

I actually do copyrights for a living, and would be glad to give a little
back if it would help, as NetBSD has been very useful to me.


At 11:43 AM -0700 9/3/97, Chris G. Demetriou wrote:
>> But this is precisely why we are where we are, Chris.  You keep making
>> statements that we have to take seriously.  Sure, you didn't
>> *literally* threaten to sue me, and maybe you didn't even intend the
>> veiled threat in your message, but it was there just the same.  You'd
>> threatened another NetBSD contributor with legal action just the day
>> before.  What was I to think?
>I'd sort-of threatened that "NetBSD contributor" with legal action (I
>_did not_ threaten legal action, to be precise!) because he (more or
>less; the system he was administering was providing a service with his
>consent, and he did not respond to reasonable, "normal" channels of
>communication over a period of a month) was distributing code that I
>and others wrote, with no copyright notices whatsoever.
>If you were planning to do the same thing, or planning to take code of
>mine which was removed, drop it right into the NetBSD source tree
>minus copyright notices, and commit it, then you probably did (and
>do!) have reason to be concerned.
>FWIW, that has nothing to do with my license.  Indeed, the NetBSD
>Foundation should have taken action to deal with the problem, in my
>opinion, because their copyright, as well as the copyright of many of
>their contributors was being violated.  When people put code into the
>NetBSD source tree, there is some trust that TNF will attempt in at
>least minimal ways to make sure that people aren't violating the
>copyrights and license terms on that code, or will at least inform the
>developers of possible/probable violations if they are known to TNF.
>TNF probably has no legal requirement to do that, but they do have an
>responsibility to do so; "NetBSD, the organization" doesn't take care
>of "NetBSD, the contributors," the contributors will go away.
>"NetBSD, the organization" was making no attempt to act even
>reasonably in that regard (indeed, on at least one instance
>disclaiming all such resonsibility), and in my opinion is deserving of
>no trust or confidence from users or developers.
>> As it is, you shouldn't be surprised when people start having paranoid
>> fantasies about you - this is real life, not a game.  We're hacking on
>> NetBSD for fun, not to get sued.
>Actually, I'd argue that it's a lot more than "for fun."  People are
>depending on NetBSD for various things.  Over time, I've done a lot of
>un-fun things to help support them.
>For a long time, I "had fun" hacking on NetBSD, but a large part of
>that "fun" required getting credit for code that I wrote.  A small
>group of people more or less ruined that, and my new license ended up
>being created.  'Core' approved that new license, then changed their
>mind on it.  You can't blame me for _that_.
>On a slightly different note, there are lots of things which are "fun"
>that are legally or morally wrong (at least for most moral standards
>8-).  Just because something is "fun" doesn't mean that it's "right"
>or "good."  If your contributions to NetBSD violate somebody's
>copyright or other intellectual property concerns, it doesn't matter
>to the person or organization that you've screwed that your actions
>were only "for fun."
>> It really sucks that as a result of
>> this schism, my job at Vixie Enterprises (no, I am not logically a
>> consultant right now) is in jeopardy, and if I keep it, I will no
>> longer be getting paid to hack on NetBSD.
>That does suck, but I don't consider it my fault or problem.  (It's
>also not clear that your complaint here can be consistent with your
>"for fun" comment above, but that's another issue.)
>First of all, I'm not the one who changed their mind about what was
>acceptable for inclusion in the NetBSD source tree.  If 'core' hadn't
>agreed in the first place to my license, something else would have
>been worked out way back when (or, I would have walked away then, with
>whatever consequences for you).  As it is, with my code backed out,
>the situation is as if i walked away then (except there's other code
>in the tree which I wrote and distributed under either my old license
>or gave to TNF, in that time).
>Second, I'm not the one who started removing code (or did any of the
>other things that 'core' did in this episode).  The fact that 'core'
>started removing the code in question without as much as sending me
>any e-mail first caused me to take the position of "OK, if you're
>going to remove it, get rid of it all and there's no bloody way i'll
>change the terms on it for you now."  As far as I'm concerned, that's
>perfectly reasonable; if you're going to kick somebody in the teeth,
>you can't expect them to just pose and smile for you.
>Third, you can't lay the actions or statements of your employer, if
>any, that indicate that your NetBSD-hacking job is in jeopardy, on me.
>If you or they were depending on me to continue doing NetBSD/alpha
>hacking, then by all means I should have been on somebody's payroll to
>do so (or, hell, even informed that _my_ NetBSD/alpha hacking was
>critical).  (On the other hand, if they were depending on the code
>which was removed to remain in the NetBSD source tree, they should
>have indicated that to somebody else, probably 'core.')
>Personally, I care.  I think that your predicament unfortunate.
>However, just because I care doesn't mean that I think that you can
>reasonably lay the blame for your problem on me, or that you can
>attempt to badger me into doing something that I have no interest in

Stephen B. Salai                            Phone (716) 325-5553
Cumpston & Shaw                             Fax    (716) 262-3906
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