Subject: Re: Last chance: Copyrights is OK ?
To: tech kern NetBSD <>
From: Greg A. Woods <>
List: tech-kern
Date: 03/08/1999 17:04:11
[ On Monday, March 8, 1999 at 12:23:08 (-0800), Jason Thorpe wrote: ]
> Subject: Re: Last chance: Copyrights is OK ? 
> The only difference between Greg's and the standard TNF/UCB license terms
> is the ", without alteration, "... and the poor grammar in Greg's version :-)

The explicit mention of "without alteration" is only that -- explicit
mention.  I've seen too many people modify other author's copyright
notices (content-wise, of course -- legally alteration refers only to
content, not to the form or presentation), even with simple changes,
such as adding another year, or replacing the year, etc., and I don't
want anyone to think they can do that.

As for grammar, well I suppose we could discuss that all day and not
come to a conclusion.  I presume you're referring to my changing the
wording about "the above copyright notice, and this list of conditions",
to "this entire notice".  In Canada (and I presume now in the USA since
it's a signatory of the Berne Convention) copyright is implicit and a
notice such as this really only serves to waives certain rights (or at
least attempts to do so -- in Canada some rights cannot be relinquished
even with explicit notices).  Therefore it is the entire notice which is
important, not the declaration of copyright (which is implicit), though
the declaration does attempt to establish certain facts, such as the
author/owner, the date of authorship, etc., and to establish willful
infringement.  I've heard that registration is still necessary in the
U.S.A in order to bring an infringement suit and to claim statutory
damages.  In Canada, registration is unecessary except to establish
undeniable ownership/authorship of a work (though I think there are
mechanisms to challenge such registration).

I suppose the word "notice" could be changed to "license", though that
seems to confuse people too as a copyright "license" need not be a
contract, at least not in Canada.

>  > > * 4. Altered versions must be plainly marked as such, and must not be
>  > > * misrepresented as being the original software.  This copyright
>  > > * notice, and the following, disclaimer must not be removed from any
>  > > * derivative work and must not be changed in any way.
>  > 
>  > Everything else looks ok.
> This last one is bloody annoying, actually.  But, I suppose one could
> always just put a comment in the top of the file saying - "This was modified
> from the original".

Indeed -- that's all that's necessary.  Where it gets interesting is
when someone makes a significant change and wants to give notice about
their copyright on the derrivative work.  What I'm attempting to do here
is force them to add their own notice and not remove my notice, not
change it, etc.  The law (at least in Canada) seems to enforce the
conditions I explicitly mention in section 4 of my notice, so strictly
speaking it isn't necessary to re-iterate, but it seems prudent to leave
that section in.  I do see a typo in there though:  the comma should
follow the word "disclaimer", not precede it.

> Really, the best thing here would be for Greg to assign copyright to
> The NetBSD Foundation, Inc.

Well, that's not going to happen.  I do want to retain ownership of my
work, especially when I give it away for free!  ;-)

If the TNF's legal advisors were to recommend that the exact form of the
TNF/UCB "license" were highly desirable then I might concede, but of
course as you've pointed out that wouldn't change very much at all.

							Greg A. Woods

+1 416 218-0098      VE3TCP      <>      <robohack!woods>
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