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Re: [HACKERS] Re: Copyright

From: Tom Lane <tgl(at)sss(dot)pgh(dot)pa(dot)us>
To: bruc(at)acm(dot)org
Cc: pgsql-hackers(at)postgreSQL(dot)org
Subject: Re: [HACKERS] Re: Copyright
Date: 2000-01-29 05:52:16
Message-ID: 13638.949125136@sss.pgh.pa.us (view raw or flat)
Thread:
Lists: pgsql-hackers
bruc(at)stone(dot)congenomics(dot)com (Robert E. Bruccoleri) writes:
> However, the real issue with PostgreSQL is not the copyright, but
> rather the permissions granted to everyone. As long as all the
> contributors are happy with the permission notice, then all is OK.

I think that's an excellent point that bears underlining.  All the
original code bore a UC Berkeley copyright --- but that didn't make
anyone unhappy, or stop any of us from doing what we wanted to do
with the code, because Berkeley's license terms are loose enough
not to pose any problems.

The license terms are not going to change.  Someone suggested switching
to GPL or LGPL terms, but we cannot do that without (a) violating the
Berkeley terms, which we are still bound by, and (b) losing many
contributors who work in commercial settings and would not find a
GPL'd database usable for their purposes.  (Berkeley terms are not
a problem for someone who wants to use code as a component of a
larger proprietary system --- but GPL terms are.)

As long as those terms don't change, adding PostgreSQL Inc (or
PostgreSQL Nonprofit Copyright Holding Corporation, or anything else)
to the copyright notices doesn't really change anything, except for
adding one more line to the boilerplate notice that people aren't
supposed to strip out of their copies.  PostgreSQL Inc can't sell the
rights to Postgres, because it hasn't got any rights that anyone else
hasn't got.  *Anyone* could take the code and start developing it
independently, just as the current set of developers did with Berkeley's
code.  And if PostgreSQL Inc did something that any significant number
of developers were unhappy with, that's exactly what those developers
would do.

So, while I don't have anything against forming a nonprofit organization
to hold the copyright on behalf of the development team, I really doubt
that it makes any difference.  The thing to keep your eye on and guard
jealously is the license/terms-of-distribution.  If anyone proposes
mucking with those, THAT is the time to start hollering.

			regards, tom lane

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