[ntp:questions] poll interval - RFC compliance question

David L. Mills mills at udel.edu
Sun Jun 15 04:05:35 UTC 2008


I can tell you haven't read the statement. Please do. Perhaps a lawyer 
would have phrased it differently and maybe modern times are different 
than mellow old MIT days, but I am loath to change it on advice, as this 
might compromise prior use and interpretation of the statement.


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Ackermann N8UR wrote:

> David Woolley said the following on 06/14/2008 04:34 PM:
>>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.
> Good point, David.  The US copyright law lists five exclusive rights
> that the copyright holder possesses.  "Use" isn't one of them, and that
> does make software copyright issues more interesting.  The five rights
> are the right to: copy, create derivative works, distribute, perform
> publicly (applies only to certain types of works), and to display
> publicly (also applies only to certain types of works).
> The reason that "use" normally works in the software context is that to
> make software function you almost always need to copy it (for example,
> from hard disk to RAM).  In some situations, "use" would also trigger
> the display right.  But it's also possible to conceive of a computing
> device with nonvolatile memory such that there is no copying involved in
> running the the software.  So, a right to "use" is inherently ambiguous
> from a copyright perspective.
> I believe (pretty strongly) that "use" would not normally be interpreted
> to include the right to distribute copies to third parties.  However,
> that right could be implied by the circumstances (if I publish my
> software on a web site and encourage downloads with no restrictions, it
> might well be that I've granted an implied license to those who download
> to further distribute.
> By the way -- relying on copyright notices drafted in the early '80s
> isn't necessarily a good idea.  At least in the US, there was still
> significant debate on whether software could even be copyrighted up
> until 1983, when Apple v. Franklin pretty much laid that to rest.
> Rights notices of the time were experimental, to say the least...
> John

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