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Re: [HACKERS] Copyright

From: Bruce Momjian <pgman(at)candle(dot)pha(dot)pa(dot)us>
To: Philip Warner <pjw(at)rhyme(dot)com(dot)au>
Cc: The Hermit Hacker <scrappy(at)hub(dot)org>, "Ross J(dot) Reedstrom" <reedstrm(at)wallace(dot)ece(dot)rice(dot)edu>, Tom Lane <tgl(at)sss(dot)pgh(dot)pa(dot)us>, Peter Eisentraut <peter_e(at)gmx(dot)net>, PostgreSQL Development <pgsql-hackers(at)postgreSQL(dot)org>
Subject: Re: [HACKERS] Copyright
Date: 2000-01-29 05:42:02
Message-ID: (view raw, whole thread or download thread mbox)
Lists: pgsql-hackers
> What matters is that it remains open, free, and modifiable by anyone, for
> any purpose.
> This does bring up the larger question of what happened to the original
> copyrights? Is this covered in Bruce's upcoming book?

The confusing part is that the Berkeley copyright allows the code to be
integrated into any product, so you can call it Momgres and close the
source, and there is nothing we can do about it.  At least that is the
meaning of the Berkeley copyright.

Many people have taken Berkeley code, added it into their kernels, and
print Berkeley when the system boots up, and they have satisfied the

What is quite confusing to me is that though we have copyrighted the
code now, we don't have a statement saying what that copyright allows
people to do with the code.  And with no statement, we are basically
doing an "all rights reserved" thing, I think, which is certainly not
what is intended.

In fact, there can be an argument that we were never open since 1996
because we didn't have any copyright covering years after 1996, and
there is an implied copyright to all works, even if not stated.

Now, I don't mean to suggest that this was intended, but the more I
think about it, the more I wonder.  We have never enforced the
copyright, so there may be no legal basis for it, but I believe there is
some muddy water here.

This all started because I asked about copyright issues around Christmas
(as someone reminded me), and we agreed to copyright the code via
PostgreSQL Inc.  Now that we have done that, it seems we may have a
little more to do.

  Bruce Momjian                        |
  pgman(at)candle(dot)pha(dot)pa(dot)us               |  (610) 853-3000
  +  If your life is a hard drive,     |  830 Blythe Avenue
  +  Christ can be your backup.        |  Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania 19026

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