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Re: lynx-dev Re: [CHRPM]

From: Henry Nelson
Subject: Re: lynx-dev Re: [CHRPM]
Date: Wed, 20 Nov 2002 12:03:00 +0900 (JST)

I tend to agree with Philip that this thread is largely hot air since in
a practical sense, the task of determining all the copyright owners is so
overwhelming that it probably would take a programmer less time to just
write code for a whole new browser than for someone to pin down the hundreds
of contributors covered by the present copyright.  Nevertheless, airing
some of the issues might be useful.

> >> how about this:  everybody ever contributing to lynx source and/or
> >> documentation shall send an email to thomas dickey giving him the
> >> copyright to these parts.
> >
> > That would be hard (not all contributors can be contacted).
> ... within reasonable limits of time.  i think if we'd post to this
> list and maybe on slashdot or somesuch medium, email them and wait a
> month, this is what i'd call reasonable.  also, we should contact the

As much as some people might like to, Ukans cannot be ignored.  Actually,
their mammoth involvement in the "birth" of Lynx is probably an absolute
deterrent to anyone thinking of just ripping off the code.  I doubt many
people would want to risk being sued by a U.S. land-grant university.

I think there already is code in Lynx the status of which is what we used to
call "skidsy."  Whenever it was when Fote totally integrated Asada's Japanese
version of Lynx (so-called CJK support), there was murmuring around the
mailing lists here of considerable displeasure about the way it was done.
I'm not sure that all of the authors gave willing consent for their code to be
placed into the mainstream Lynx code.  If anyone wishes to go into more detail,
I will offer to do so OFF-LIST.  What I want to say here is that I would not
"call reasonable" anything short of directly contacting people like Asada, and
his predecessors such as the eminent Sato.  This is just one very small aspect
of Lynx, and there probably are numerous analogous chunks of code, any one of
which if they had to be removed, would seriously cripple Lynx.

I wonder if there are other people like me who not thinking at the time wrote
code for Lynx during work hours.  (In 1996 and 1997, Lynx was indispensable
to my job.)  In my case the contributions are minuscule so to remove them
would be relatively easy, but they would have to be removed if copyright
ownership were to change hands.  If there are more important contributions
"owned" by well-established institutions, things could get very sticky.

Do people really want to open this can of worms?


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