Subject: Re: "University-style" vs "Berkeley" licenses
From: Keith Bostic <bostic@bsdi.com>
Date: Wed, 26 Aug 1998 12:32:15 -0400 (EDT)

> Date: Wed, 26 Aug 1998 00:40:18 -0700
> From: "Robert A. Bruce" <rab@cdrom.com>
>
> I don't think anyone wants to deny recognition to the authors, but you
> need to be realistic Keith.  We pay thousands of dollars for an ad that
> is only a few square inches.  We couldn't fit the entire BSD aknowledgement
> in even if we use a 2 point font and deleted everything else in the ad.
> Requiring the aknowledgements to be included with the software is perfectly
> reasonable.  Requiring it to be included in advertisements is ridiculous.
>
> Since including the aknowledgement is totally out of the question, we
> were reluctant to mention BSD products in our ads.  After consulting
> with several different lawyers, we decided that the BSD advertising
> restrictions were not enforcable, and started promoting BSD products,
> without including the acknowledgements.

Once again, I need to make sure I understand this:

    Someone wrote a bunch of software, and placed it under some
    conditions.

    You decided that those conditions weren't reasonable, but
    instead of negotiating with them to change the conditions,
    or simply not using the software, you decided that because
    the conditions weren't "legally enforceable", it was okay
    to ignore them.

I'm no authority, but you may have ceded the high moral ground here.

> But it is much harder to convince resellers to promote the products.  Most
> businesspeople worry about some random lawsuit destroying their business,
> so why advertise a product that could cause problems, when there are
> hundreds of other products?

There is another option -- don't sell the software!  If you don't like
the conditions under which it's distributed, get them changed, or don't
use it.

> The UCB advertising restrictions are stupid, counter-productive, and do
> far more damage than you realize.  

Almost certainly true, given how little I realize in general, and I won't
argue the point.  (Let me just say that it seemed like a good idea at the
time, since various commercial companies were removing the UC Berkeley
copyright.  And, I've done what I can -- RMS has asked UCB to re-release
the software without the advertising clause, and the CSRG folks have all
told UCB they agree with him and we'd like to see it removed as well.)

But that doesn't change what you owe the copyright holder -- if the
copyright says that you have to do cartwheels in Times Square, naked,
at high noon, then you either don't resell their software or you head
downtown with a tube of serious sunblock.

--keith