4-clause BSD licensed files

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4-clause BSD licensed files

Keith Packard-2

I'm reviewing the newlib licenses as I try to fix the copyright status
in a debian package and have come across a fairly long list of files
that still have the old BSD advertising clause:

 * 3. All advertising materials mentioning features or use of this software
 *    must display the following acknowledgement:
 * This product includes software developed by the University of
 * California, Berkeley and its contributors.

A (much shorter) list of files contains this clause in an even older
form:

 * (2) distributions including binaries display
 * the following acknowledgement:  ``This product includes software
 * developed by the University of California, Berkeley and its contributors''
 * in the documentation or other materials provided with the distribution
 * and in all advertising materials mentioning features or use of this
 * software.

This isn't mentioned in COPYING.NEWLIB, which seems like a fairly
serious omission as it impacts where and how newlib can be used.

I believe all of the affected files are copyright The Regents of the
University of California, and as that organization has routinely
re-licensed code from 4-clause to 3-clause licenses, I'm wondering if it
would be reasonable to simply edit the affected files and remove this
clause. It's already been done in about 74 files, which contain
license clauses 1, 2 and 4 but no clause 3.

Here's how I counted the files containing this phrasing:

        $ git grep -l -i 'All advertising material' | wc -l
        188

I'm working on a python script to automatically extract copyright
messages from the newlib source with the goal of formatting that in
Debian's machine-readable form. I can also generate an updated
COPYING.NEWLIB file if that's of interest.

--
-keith

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Re: 4-clause BSD licensed files

Paul Koning-6


> On Jan 27, 2020, at 8:10 PM, Keith Packard <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> ...
> I believe all of the affected files are copyright The Regents of the
> University of California, and as that organization has routinely
> re-licensed code from 4-clause to 3-clause licenses, I'm wondering if it
> would be reasonable to simply edit the affected files and remove this
> clause.

It would make a whole lot of sense to ask for permission to make that change, but making it without explicit permission of the copyright holder would be incorrect.

        paul


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Re: 4-clause BSD licensed files

Keith Packard-2
Paul Koning <[hidden email]> writes:

> It would make a whole lot of sense to ask for permission to make that
> change, but making it without explicit permission of the copyright
> holder would be incorrect.

Sure, in the usual case you're perfectly correct. However, I think
this is a special case because Berkeley published a statement allowing
people to remove this clause. If the copyright holder were anyone other
than "The Regents of the University of California" we'd be stuck.

Here's a link to that statement, which was made in 1999:

ftp://ftp.cs.berkeley.edu/pub/4bsd/README.Impt.License.Change

        July 22, 1999

        To All Licensees, Distributors of Any Version of BSD:

        As you know, certain of the Berkeley Software Distribution ("BSD") source
        code files require that further distributions of products containing all or
        portions of the software, acknowledge within their advertising materials
        that such products contain software developed by UC Berkeley and its
        contributors.

        Specifically, the provision reads:

        "     * 3. All advertising materials mentioning features or use of this software
              *    must display the following acknowledgement:
              *    This product includes software developed by the University of
              *    California, Berkeley and its contributors."

        Effective immediately, licensees and distributors are no longer required to
        include the acknowledgement within advertising materials.  Accordingly, the
        foregoing paragraph of those BSD Unix files containing it is hereby deleted
        in its entirety.

        William Hoskins
        Director, Office of Technology Licensing
        University of California, Berkeley


Thanks for encouraging me to go and find these actual words -- it's
pretty clear in giving us permission to edit the license in our copy of
the software. And, we have about 74 files which have obviously been
edited in this way, although at least some of those were brought to
newlib through some indirect process and were edited before being added
to newlib.

The statement appears to also give us permission to remove the
advertising clause from the 1987 BSD license, although that is a bit
less clear as it doesn't explicitly state how to do that.

--
-keith

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