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From Colm MacCarthaigh <c...@stdlib.net>
Subject Re: [VOTE] 2.0.57 candidate
Date Fri, 21 Apr 2006 18:12:20 GMT
On Fri, Apr 21, 2006 at 12:51:19PM -0500, William A. Rowe, Jr. wrote:
> Justin Erenkrantz wrote:
> >
> >It matters that we've now said on a public list that we know the
> >notices are incorrect.  Before, we actually believed that those
> >changes were right.  That's a huge difference.  -- justin
> 
> You've said so.  Roy's said so.  Colm said it's irrelevant.  I've seen no
> statement by the ASF (board of directors, VP legal affairs) so it's well
> written, stylishly composed hot air until the ASF asserts an explicit 
> policy.

O.k., I'll try and give some background, IANAL and I'm just trying to
fill in, based on my own understanding here.

Justin is entirely correct that we shouldn't be saying "Copyright
N-2006" where those files lack significant changes within the latter
year. This is fraud, and us knowing about it makes it willful fraud
which a) can have an effect on damages in some jurisdictions, b) harms
our credibility, both in the context of any related legal cases and just
in general.

However the nature of the fraud isn't exactly a big deal from a
risk-assessment point of view. Because it's very hard to identify any
harm caused by the error. After all, we publish the code under a very
liberal license.

In theory, in about 60 years time, someone could argue that we deprived
them of the correct notice as to when they could start using the code in
non-ASL compliant ways, but could they really show that they had made
any effort to mitigate the problem? After all, there's already published
voluminous discussion about it in the list archive?

So really, what it does boil down to is the PR/credibility aspect of it.
For starters, if the ASF ever did have a case in the IP law area (not
all unlikely), they opposing side can point to things like this and use
it to create an impression of general sloppiness and use it as
supporting evidence of a kind. In the public arena, well it just looks
bad to knowlingly mess things up.

So, that's why it's important that it be fixed, and presumably why the
ASF legal team are working on it.  

So, I think our real options are;

	's/NNNN-NNNN/NNNN/' and simply delete the latter year entirely. 
	This is minimal change, but assumes that I actually have a clue here
	and get what the legal issue is. And this hasn't been approved
	by ASF legal. 

	Migrate to the jackrabbit notice, because at least it has been 
	approved and we judge the inconvience of seemingly slightly
	adversarial to users less bad than the inconvience of having
	less credibility in legal matters.

Personally, I'd prefer the latter, though I'm also entirely happy to
live with the risk/credibility issue of the existing text, this really
is hair-splitting hypotheticial territory.

-- 
Colm MacCárthaigh                        Public Key: colm+pgp@stdlib.net

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