[ntp:questions] poll interval - RFC compliance question

David L. Mills mills at udel.edu
Sun Jun 15 03:53:42 UTC 2008


You can tell by my tone that I violently disagree. If what you say is 
true in a strict legal sense, then for the last almost three decades 
nobody could use the code, not Sun, not Digital/HP, not anybody. What 
you see is what MIT saw and is absolutely all you get.


David Woolley wrote:
> David L. Mills wrote:
>> statement in the distribution. Note very carefully that there is no 
>> license, only a copyright statement that clearly specifies no fee, no 
> If that were really true (that there was no licence), almost no-one 
> would be able to use the code.  A copyright notice says what is 
> copyright and who owns the copyright.  It just removes doubt as to 
> whether a licence is needed (not much software was written by people who 
> have been dead for 70 years, so most software needs a licence; software 
> written by the US government, at least within the USA, is a special 
> case), and tells you who is able to give that licence.
> A licence is a statement of permission to do things which would 
> otherwise be illegal.  Copying the ntpd code would be illegal without a 
> licence.
>> restictions on use other than including the copyright statement itself 
>> in derived products.
> The statement that there are no restrictions is actually the licence.
> You may be confused by commercial software, which doesn't use a bare 
> licence, but uses a licence agreement, which is actually a contract. 
> Note that some people argue that bare licences are not possible in many 
> countries.  Some people even argue that bare licences are not valid in 
> the USA.
> To the extent that copyright agreements are optional, their purpose is 
> normally to give you a copy only on the condition that you do not 
> exercise some of the rights that you would have if given the copy 
> without making the agreement.
> I suspect Open BSD's problem is that the statement of permission doesn't 
> actually give all the rights that are restricted by copyright.  In 
> particular, if it says "use", that has a technical meaning that doesn't 
> include copying to give to others.
> People in the ntpd community generally assume that the copyright owners 
> will act as though the licence you intended exists, but others may want 
> to act on the basis of what the licence actually says.
> Normally the following would be taken as implied, but I will make them 
> explicit, as an example.  I'm not a lawyer, so they may well not be 
> watertight.  You should independently verify any statements about the 
> law made here.
> Copyright notice:  This article is Copyright 2008 David J Woolley of 
> London England.
> Parts prefixed ">" are Copyright 2008 Doctor David L Mills and/or the 
> University of Delaware (and are included under the doctrine of fair use 
> for criticism or review).
> Licence:  David J Woolley grants permission for all acts covered by 
> copyright law which contributors to a USENET newsroup gatewayed to a 
> public mailing list would normally expect to be permitted.

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