Subject: Re: Can abandonment be irrevocable?
From: Rick Moen <rick@linuxmafia.com>
Date: Wed, 13 Aug 2003 02:04:14 -0700

Quoting Peter Fairbrother (zenadsl6186@zen.co.uk):

> I suppose that that's up to him; and I'd applaud his efforts to expand
> licencing concepts, if that's what they are - but he's advising some
> ok+ crypto coders to use abandonment, and I wouldn't like them to come
> to grief.  Or me.

Well, {cough}  Prof. Bernstein is a man of rather firm and sometimes a
bit eccentric convictions.  I'm mostly trying to alert you to this, in
case you were unaware.

[Code whose copyright the owner has acted to abandon:]

> And most important of all, I don't know if, or how, I (I'm the m-o-o-t guy)
> can use such code. 
> 
> What happens to code, or the copyright in it, when it is "abandoned"?

I personally think the existence of these unsettled questions suffices
to make reuse of that code undesirable -- especially given the wealth of
crypto libraries available having no such issues.

> > I think your caution is reasonable,
> 
> Is it more than just caution, is there a risk involved in using such code?
> Can anyone delimit that risk?

You yourself (on sci.crypto) outlined one risk scenario:  You encounter
a piece of code that has been professed to be in the public domain on
account of some deliberate act of copyright abandonment -- but what do
you have to even verify and document this?  Especially if the author has
gone the usual route and removed his name and related ownership
statements?  

I'm not sure what other hazards exist -- but I personally wouldn't put
up with them.

-- 
Cheers,                            Ceterum censeo, Caldera delenda est.
Rick Moen
rick@linuxmafia.com  
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