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Re: Guile in Emacs

From: Helmut Eller
Subject: Re: Guile in Emacs
Date: Sat, 17 Apr 2010 08:46:18 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.0.50 (gnu/linux)

* Richard Stallman [2010-04-17 06:40+0200] writes:

>     The Tex sources of the "draft" of the ANSI standard are available on the
>     net[1].
> What license do they carry?

Apparently none.  The only paragraph containing the word "copyright" is

  Special thanks to Guy L. Steele Jr. and Digital Press for producing {\CLtL},
  and for relaxing copyright restrictions enough to make it possible for that
  document's text to provide an early basis of this work.

>     The legal status of the Tex sources seems a bit messy, though.
>     Apparently the intention of the involved parties was to put them into
>     Public Domain but somehow failed to make that formally correct[4].
> Can you boil down the facts they found and state them concisely?

At least in this thread, the Debian people didn't find any facts and
only stated that some lawyer would be needed to clarify the issues.

On another message board[1] Peter Seibel summarized the situation:

  So here's some info that I got from Steve Haflich of Franz and  
  onetime chair of XJ13, the committee that brought us the ANSI  
  Standard. (This is from a conversation we had standing in the lobby  
  of the Franz office building; I wasn't taking notes. Caveat Lector.)
    - At some point in the standardization process it became apparent  
  that there was a bunch of editorial work to be done and no one to do  
  it and no funding to pay someone to do it.
    - Various organizations involved in the standardization such as  
  Franz, Symbolics, Harlequin, Apple, and others decided that they  
  would each contract with Symbolics to pay for a Symbolic's employee,  
  Kent Pitman, to produce a draft standard which he would then "give"  
  to ANSI to do with whatever they wished.
    - All these organizations agreed that they would place the work (to  
  which they held copyright since they were paying Symbolics to do it  
  as a work for hire) into the public domain. Except some lawyer  
  pointed out that you can't really affirmatively put something in the  
  public domain. So they did something--not clear what--to assert their  
  copyright but to allow anyone to use the draft they were paying to  
  have produced for any purpose whatsoever.
    - That draft is the so-called dpANS2.
    - ANSI took the dpANS2 and made a few minor copy edits, slapped on  
  their logo and some front matter, and published it as the ANSI standard.
    - Kent Pitman, then at Harlequin then used the dpANS2 as the basis  
  for the HyperSpec. Franz similarly used it to make their HTML  
  version. Pitman also fought with ANSI to get permission to do  
  something (not clear exactly what) beyond what he would have been  
  allowed to do with dpANS2.
    - I'm pretty sure Harlequin (or Xanalys or Lispworks) owns the  
  copyright to the HyperSpec.
    - The issue of copyright on dpANS2 is muddied by the fact that it  
  includes big chunks of text that were written by Guy Steele for CLTL.  
  He, according to Haflich, donated that text to ANSI to use in the  
  standard but it's not clear that the folks (i.e. those companies)  
  that produced the dpANS actually had the right to use it. Obviously,  
  from a practical point of view, he and Digital Press, publishers of  
  CLTL2, haven't been bothered by the fact that their text is in the  
  HyperSpec and the dpANS, etc. but technically they could probably  
  make a stink. (Though maybe Pitman actually cleared that with them-- 
  he seems to make a point of being pretty scrupulous about  
  intellectual property issues.)
    - The issue of copyright on dpANS2 is also muddied by the many  
  small contributions of text by other people who participated in the  
  standardization process.
  So, to answer Don's question, probably not. If one wanted to take the  
  text of dpANS2 and use it for the basis of a derived work (say an  
  annotated version), and you wanted to be incredibly scrupulous about  
  making sure you weren't stepping on anyone's copyrights, you'd  
  probably need to track down the contracts wherein the companies that  
  funded the dpANS2 "licensed" it for use by anyone for any purpose.  
  Then you'd probably want to talk to Guy Steele and/or Digital Press.  
  And for good measure the known authors of any of the sections of the  
  dpANS2 that were written by someone else (e.g. Dick Waters, I  
  believe, wrote large chunks of the section on the pretty printer  
  since he invented it.) Then, if you really wanted to nail things  
  down, you'd probably need to contact the 100 or so folks who  
  participated in the standardization and who may have contributed text.
  But probably the right and most efficient thing to do is to find a  
  good IP lawyer and tell them what, specifically you want to do, and  
  ask them to help you figure out what you need to do to make sure  
  you're not exposing yourself to excessive liability by doing it.

I don't know how Pitman "asked" ANSI for permission he only writes this
in the HyperSpec:

  Parts of this work incorporate material taken from American National
  Standard X3.226, copyright 1994, and is used with permission of the X3
  Secretariat, ITI, 1250 Eye St., NW., Suite 200, Washington, DC 20005 and
  of the copyright holder, American National Standards
  Institute. ANSI/X3.226 was developed by Technical Committee X3J13,
  Common Lisp.


[1] http://www.mail-archive.com/address@hidden/msg00189.html

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