From: Gary Powell (powellg_at_[hidden])
Date: 2001-11-13 12:49:25
It's not time to reopen this issue.
First, AFAIK there have been no liability lawsuits about the misuse of free
software. If we try and write a "legalese" disclaimer and wind up in court
we'll look like we know what we are doing and are more likely to have less
leniency by a judge. Judges tend to look for plain language. "Says: You use
at your own risk councilor, so how do you infer it's use is responsible for
this plane crash?" Force them to prove malicious intent.
Second, As soon as we try to write a holds up everywhere copyright/copyleft
and it gets attacked by some legal department who then "steals" boost stuff
and attempts to sell it, we have no legal department of our own to defend it
so we'll have to resort to an email blitz and boycott. (It's pretty
effective, just ask Adobe about their last tangle with the Electronic
Freedom Group and the copyright issues about breaking their ebook
encryption.) So what is the point.
Third, If we make the copyright difficult to understand to lay engineers we
risk losing the developers we've got, and potential users. I work on this
stuff because I believe that there is no way for me to make any reasonable
amount of money selling this stuff, and I believe in the pay back for all
the other free software I've gotten and the Pay it forward, for all the free
software I may use in the future.
Fourth, Just because some other lawyer wrote some copyright/text doesn't
make it any more enforceable than some plain text. (Note: I didn't say
IMO, letting the author put a copyright/copyleft on it encourages them to
maintain their code. Public ownership has its responsibilities, and shame of
failure is a motivator to keep it working.
So my suggestion is either leave it alone, or write the most simple text
that covers this and leave it at that.
BTW, WRITING A COPYRIGHT IN ALL CAPS DOES NOT MAKE IT ANY MORE ENFORCEABLE
than using mixed case.
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