Subject: Re: Can AnonCVS be used with ppp connection?
To: None <>
From: Greg A. Woods <>
List: netbsd-users
Date: 09/02/1999 13:07:32
[ On Thursday, September 2, 1999 at 22:26:06 (+1000), Giles Lean wrote: ]
> Subject: Re: Can AnonCVS be used with ppp connection? 
> For the record I don't agree that CTM breaks the BSD license.  I'm
> listening to arguments if anyone cares to make them, but there is a
> tradition going back many, many, years of posting diffs to copyrighted
> sources to usenet without any suggestion that this avoided the
> copyright on the original sources.

This is from what I've learned about copyright law over the years.  I'm
not an legal expert, but I hope I am a very well informed amateur!  ;-)

Strictly speaking the diffs all by themselves (even with context lines
according to ancient Usenet lore) are a separately copyrightable work.

So far as I can tell the result of applying the diffs to the original
source results in what copyright laws call a derivative work.
Derivative works cannot be created without the permission (explicit or
implicit through previously waived rights) of the original author.

So, in general this statement may not be legally true:

> | Please note that diffs are not public domain; they are subject to the
> | copyright notices on the relevant files.

unless the authors of the changes have actually assigned their rights to
the original authors, *or* the copyright notice has been updated to
mention that it includes changes copyright by the change author.

However over the years I've come to have the belief that folks posting
diffs to the net for someone else's code are often hoping to have those
changes (or at least some equivalent or better changes) incorporated
into the next release.  While they often expect to be given credit, I
think that they implicitly usually wish to assign the rights to their
changes to the original author.  At least as I recall over the years
there have been very few public debates by people attempting to retain
their copyright rights on their diffs.

I would like to think this is also true of people who have taken over
maintenance of someone else's work.  (Eg. I maintain smail, but I have
assigned the rights to all my changes to the original authors under the
original GPL copyright, and I implicitly am expecting the same of
everyone who submits diffs to be put into smail.)

Of course it's always best to be very explicit about these issues and
for anything that might be of any real-world value (eg. a complete
driver to a complex card, or a complete system utility, etc.) then I
would think that if any copyright assignment is to be done that it
should be done in writing and with signatures.

Still it might be best to change the disclaimer on the source-changes
postings to something like:

| Please note that diffs are not public domain; they are subject to the
| copyright of their author(s), unless otherwise assigned or waived.

							Greg A. Woods

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