httpd-dev mailing list archives

Site index · List index
Message view « Date » · « Thread »
Top « Date » · « Thread »
From (Robert S. Thau)
Date Mon, 10 Apr 1995 08:17:47 GMT
   Date: Mon, 10 Apr 95 12:00:05 BST
   From: Andrew Wilson <>

   I spoke to Paul Richards (one of our listeners) again over the
   weekend - it seems like we're still no better protected legally
   for having this licence present.  It's still the case that
   we *NEED* NCSA to tell us where they stand on the 1.3R licence.

For the tenth time, it is not.  Richards' theory, if I recall it
right, is that NCSA could argue that the legalese in the README file
covers only the README, and that therefore NCSA could try to claim in
court that they hadn't actually intended the terms within it to cover
any of the software which happened to come in the same box.  This
argument is crazy on its face for several reasons:

1) The legalese in the README file mentions "code" and "source code",
   yet the file itself contains none.  Clearly, the language in that
   file is intended to apply to the entire distribution, and not just
   the 28-line text file it appears in (which is mostly taken up with
   the legalese itself!).

2) The dedication to the public domain (that's not a "license", BTW,
   at least not in the legal sense), isn't the only thing in that
   README file --- the warranty disclaimer is also in that same file
   and nowhere else.  So, if NCSA wants to claim copyright on the NCSA
   1.3 code, they have to open themselves up to lawsuits over bugs.
   This is hardly likely to be to the liking of the NCSA lawyers.

3) NCSA and representatives of NCSA have repeatedly *acknowledged*
   that the 1.3 code is in the public domain, both in private
   statements to us and publically.  They're thinking about changing
   those terms for subsequent distributions, but they haven't yet, and
   indeed their impression is that they can't.

Look, anyone can sue anyone else over anything.  But if NCSA is
absolutely desperate to have a lawsuit, they can probably find a
better case than this one anyway; it's so laughable it would probably
get thrown out of even an American court.  Please give it a rest...


View raw message