Subject: Re: Last chance: Copyrights is OK ?
To: NetBSD Kernel Technical Discussion List <>
From: Greg A. Woods <>
List: tech-kern
Date: 03/09/1999 01:09:12
[ On , March 8, 1999 at 16:52:19 (-0800), Chris G. Demetriou wrote: ]
> Subject: Re: Last chance: Copyrights is OK ?
> This wacko proliferation of licenses (and yes, i know bloody well that
> i've been on both sides of the issue... the question is who am i
> representing, myself and my personal interests, or the interests of an
> organization who might want to use the code 8-) means that
> organizations that want to ship binaries and source based on NetBSD
> _and_ "do the right thing" by the license(s) must spend literally
> weeks or more accumulating the various licenses in the tree, examining
> them, and doing what it takes to satisfy them.

Well, as I see it I, as a contributor, am giving away the fruits of my
intellectual labours not just to an organization and a group of
enthusiasts who are endeavouring to make a very fine operating system
available in source code, but also to corporate users of that system
which TNF actively encourages to take it away and create proprietary
(i.e. non source) derrivative works.  If I'm not going to be paid back
directly by such users then I want to make it abundantly clear to
everyone concerned that they are using something of mine, and I want to
force them, to the fullest extent the law will allow me to force them,
to publicly acknowledge my rights and ownership of even some tiny
portion of the larger collective work they productize.

As a user of other's contributions I'm more than willing to pay them
back in recognition of their rights and ownership to their
contributions.  If this is the only price I have to pay for quality
software in source form then I'm forever grateful.

Of course there is one more advantage to assigning one's rights to a
larger organization (beyond the already mentioned management and
clerical advantages) and that is the protection afforded by a larger
organization.  In theory a larger organization might have more resources
to expend on protecting its copyrights, and probably has more incentive
to protect its copyrights too.  Unfortunately NetBSD doesn't (at least
for me) offer the promise of philosophical goals sufficiently attractive
and important for me to consider assigning my works to The NetBSD
Foundation.  So far I'm also willing to trust my fellow users to honour
my rights and ownerships in trade for what I give them, however
insignificant it may be, and as such I don't feel the need to protect my
works by assigning them to a larger organization that would hopefully
have an interest in protecting them.  I suspect that if I ever discover
that trust has been broken that instead of taking legal action I will
just convert all my future licenses to something much closer to the GPL,
if not the GPL itself, which explicitly required users to offer source
to their customers.  Only if the abuse continued would I consider
assigning my rights to an organization that might be expected to protect
its own rights, such as perhaps the FSF.

BTW, I'm not trying to threaten anyone with my alleged support of the
GPL and the FSF, except those who would purposefully ignore the rights
and ownership of contributors.

							Greg A. Woods

+1 416 218-0098      VE3TCP      <>      <robohack!woods>
Planix, Inc. <>; Secrets of the Weird <>