Subject: Re: license
To: der Mouse <mouse@Rodents.Montreal.QC.CA>
From: Greg A. Woods <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 06/03/1998 12:25:15
[ On Sun, May 31, 1998 at 02:52:43 (-0400), der Mouse wrote: ]
> Subject: Re: license
> These do not require attribution attached to software, only to
> references to it and mention of it. Whenever I produce "material
> mentioning or referencing" that "derived work" (eg, this message), I
> have to recite that attribution I quoted...since I have used said
> derivative work (by accidentally running an md5 implementation that was
> linked with that md5 code).
WHOAH! Hold on. These are supposedly *copyright* licenses and thus
apply *only* to the "right to *copy*" the work covered. The word "use"
in the context of copyright means that you are copying the work for the
purpose of distribution, and normally this only applies if you're making
a profit in some way from the distribution (though not always if your
purpose is deemed to be something like defamation of character or other
"damages" covered by the copyright law in your jurisdiction).
The act of running, or executing, a legally obtained copy of a software
program can *never* violate a copyright license, nor place the person
doing this in any form of jeopardy w.r.t. future distribution of similar
types of software. This is extremely clear at least in the Canadian
That said though, I think it'll take a court to decide whether or not
the "license" for MD5 from RSA, Inc. is a pure copyright license, or
not. I'd like to think it's not purely because they freely redistribute
the code. Anyone serious about successfully protecting software with a
right-to-execute license would either enforce strict trade secret
agreements and/or use technical controls such as a network license manager.
Any software company that tries to put a license to execute on their
software should be avoided like the plague (and that includes folks like
Sun Microsystems who impose restrictions via a licence manager on the
number of users who may run a legal copy of their software, such as the
C compiler in Sun's case, at any given time).
Greg A. Woods
+1 416 443-1734 VE3TCP <email@example.com> <robohack!woods>
Planix, Inc. <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Secrets of the Weird <email@example.com>