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From: lau...@rand-unix.ARPA
Newsgroups: net.unix-wizards
Subject: software ethics
Message-ID: <8859@brl-tgr.ARPA>
Date: Sat, 2-Mar-85 07:01:28 EST
Article-I.D.: brl-tgr.8859
Posted: Sat Mar  2 07:01:28 1985
Date-Received: Tue, 5-Mar-85 02:05:49 EST
Sender: n...@brl-tgr.ARPA
Lines: 22

I guess I'm just one of those old-fashioned sorts that likes to try
abide by both the letter and the spirit of the law.  If other people
want to go out and play illicit games with other people's code, or decide
that if they don't like the way an agreement is written they'll
just ignore it, I guess that's their business.  But I treat other
people's software and trade secrets the same way I expect them
to treat mine, which is to say I respect them.  Your comment
implies that it is OK to violate trade secret agreements if you
personally think that they are unnecessarily strict or if you
think that "nobody will know."  I've seen these same arguments
applied to other aspects of Unix and to other company's software
as well.  I think they're pretty lousy arguments.

Excuse me for being ethical.  It's attitudes like yours that 
have forced vendors into ever more restrictive agreements,
copy protection schemes, and other similar sorts of things
to try protect themselves.  

In any case, I suspect that this list can live without
a rehash of this whole subject, again.

--Lauren--

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From: lau...@rand-unix.ARPA
Newsgroups: net.unix-wizards
Subject: software ethics
Message-ID: <8891@brl-tgr.ARPA>
Date: Sun, 3-Mar-85 19:01:47 EST
Article-I.D.: brl-tgr.8891
Posted: Sun Mar  3 19:01:47 1985
Date-Received: Tue, 5-Mar-85 02:40:23 EST
Sender: n...@brl-tgr.ARPA
Lines: 36

I tried once before to get a "software ethics" list started, but to
no avail.  The attitude that some people publicly state that implies
it is "all right to try wangle around agreements" shows, if nothing else,
a very low ethical standard.  I can't help but be saddened when 
I'm attacked for being "too ethical" since I follow the rules and
refuse to rip people off.

I suppose it is silly to expect any higher ethical standards in the
computer community than in the rest of society at large.  If there
were a software ethics list I'd invite replies there, but since
there isn't, please send flames to /dev/null.

--Lauren--

P.S.  I too have talked to senior AT&T officials over the years.
      And they have assured me that they feel quite confident of
      their trade-secret stance on Unix and will protect it.
      But in any case, I am disgusted to see the people standing around
      like vultures trying to find some way to rip off AT&T.
      I hope there's a special hell for people like that--one where
      they are condemned to an eternity of running a version 1.0 RSX.
      I guess this hell would be next door to the hell for people
      who think that making and distributing "free" copies of
      licensed microcomputer code is also just fine and dandy.
      They are clearly related groups.

      Unless intellectual property rights can be reasonably protected,
      we are headed down a very rough path indeed.  Copy protection
      systems are a hassle for the legit users, and this really only
      leaves legal remedies in the absence of any personal ethical
      sense on the part of many people in the community.

      Once again, I'd like to propose a separate list to discuss such
      software ethics topics rather than clog up these technical lists.

--LW--

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mit-eddie!godot!harvard!seismo!brl-tgr!tgr!far...@udel-huey.ARPA
From: far...@udel-huey.ARPA (Dave Farber)
Newsgroups: net.unix-wizards
Subject: Re: software ethics
Message-ID: <8892@brl-tgr.ARPA>
Date: Sun, 3-Mar-85 21:03:36 EST
Article-I.D.: brl-tgr.8892
Posted: Sun Mar  3 21:03:36 1985
Date-Received: Wed, 6-Mar-85 04:05:13 EST
Sender: n...@brl-tgr.ARPA
Lines: 11

I am sorry Lauren, but when a company takes and declares
restricted under trade secret things which are just
not reasonable to so do, it is more than ethical
to argue with them. 

Surpose someone suddenly declared that top down parsing
was a trade secret beacuse it is used in some part of Unix
(must be somewhere). What do we do then?

The protection of creative works should be protected
but not using that route.

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mit-eddie!godot!harvard!seismo!brl-tgr!tgr!vortex!lau...@rand-unix.ARPA
From: lau...@rand-unix.ARPA
Newsgroups: net.unix-wizards
Subject: software ethics
Message-ID: <8893@brl-tgr.ARPA>
Date: Sun, 3-Mar-85 22:04:22 EST
Article-I.D.: brl-tgr.8893
Posted: Sun Mar  3 22:04:22 1985
Date-Received: Wed, 6-Mar-85 04:05:54 EST
Sender: n...@brl-tgr.ARPA
Lines: 28

If someone came up with a new way of doing top-down parsing that
took substantial work on their part and represented a potential
commercial advantage, I see nothing wrong with their placing it
under trade-secret protections, given the lack of very useful
protection alternatives.

If someone invented a neat new way to do process scheduling and wanted 
to protect it, once again, given the lack of alternatives to prevent
ripoffs, it also might be a good candidate for trade secret
protection.  This doesn't say that nobody else is allowed to
invent other methods of doing process scheduling and use their
independently created scheduling creations as they see fit.

David, if you'd like to contribute to a discussion regarding
software ethics and how best to protect the works of individuals
and companies who create software from illicit sales and
information theft, I'd be glad to welcome your input.  But let's
do this either in direct mail or on a different list.  I offer
the other readers of this message the same invitation.  These
issues are far ranging and need to be discussed, but not in
this list which now probably represents more traffic in most
ARPA mailboxes than all the other lists put together.

Anyone interested in these discussions, please let me know 
(by direct mail) and I'll see about starting up a list.  Please
do *not* reply-to or CC: such messages to this list.

--Lauren--

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From: cottr...@nbs-vms.ARPA
Newsgroups: net.unix-wizards
Subject: UUCP & Ethics
Message-ID: <8925@brl-tgr.ARPA>
Date: Mon, 4-Mar-85 17:45:23 EST
Article-I.D.: brl-tgr.8925
Posted: Mon Mar  4 17:45:23 1985
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/*
I'm getting pretty damn sick of this righteousness on this network.
Everyone is a sinner. Everyone draws his own lines. Remember the words
`Government {for,by,of} the People'. That means I have some say in it
too. There is all kind of unenforcable illegal malarkey in written
contracts. They're just trying to intimidate you into doing what
they want. Remember, if you have source, you PAID for the RIGHT to
look at it. You don't have the right to copy it & claim it as yours,
but anything you learn is your own experience. What if you had
previously delved into UUCP to fix a bug, & found decided, "wow, this is
really a mess, there's got to be a better way". By then your mind
would be `polluted' with trade secrets, & you would be ethically
bound not to rewrite it. Hogwash. I said there is a happy medium.
I agree that the spirit of the law should be obeyed. I will therefore
agree of my own free will that I will not make money off TPC's (or
anyone elses) code. But if I need cpio on BSD, I will port it. I did,
so sue me. If Lauren is as smart as people say (& I believe so), he is
doing the rest of us a disservice my shooting in the dark. Take a few
peeks at existing code & build on that instead of reinventing the wheel.

	jim		cottrell@nbs
*/

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From: r...@BRL-TGR.ARPA (Ron Natalie)
Newsgroups: net.unix-wizards
Subject: Re:  UUCP & Ethics
Message-ID: <8953@brl-tgr.ARPA>
Date: Tue, 5-Mar-85 14:35:24 EST
Article-I.D.: brl-tgr.8953
Posted: Tue Mar  5 14:35:24 1985
Date-Received: Sat, 9-Mar-85 11:07:03 EST
Sender: n...@brl-tgr.ARPA
Lines: 10

What I expect, some one else was trying to say (Farber?) was that UNIX
algorithms, probably wouldn't hold up to the trade secret test.  They
were really innovative several years ago, but whole books have been
published on operating system ideas such as those in UNIX.  HOW UNIX
works is not a secret.  I would expect that while a court test would
protect AT&T's source, the algorithms would not hold up.  Even IBM
(which only copyrights their code) does not discourage the theft of
their algorithms.

-Ron

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From: s...@ulysses.UUCP (Steven Bellovin)
Newsgroups: net.unix-wizards
Subject: Re: software ethics
Message-ID: <10007@ulysses.UUCP>
Date: Tue, 5-Mar-85 15:49:47 EST
Article-I.D.: ulysses.10007
Posted: Tue Mar  5 15:49:47 1985
Date-Received: Wed, 6-Mar-85 04:47:56 EST
References: <8893@brl-tgr.ARPA>
Organization: AT&T Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill
Lines: 82

It would help if people were a bit more careful about using phrases like
"trade secret".  I'm sure a lawyer can do better, but let me try to define
some relevant terms:

	trade secret -- some knowledge that is truly kept secret by the
		owner, for commercial gain.  An example is the formula
		for Coca Cola(R).  It is *legal* to attempt to deduce
		a trade secret by reverse engineering, and to use this
		knowledge commercially.  Thus, if I buy a computer and
		find all the secret ROM entry points by disassembling
		a readout, I can write programs to use them.  I can also
		use the algorithms contained therein if they are not
		otherwise protected.

	patent -- a limited-term right to use an original invention, in
		exchange for publication of the patent.  Because of the
		limited duration, and because essential information must
		be disclosed, many companies choose not to patent some
		items -- again, Coca Cola is a good example.  (Btw, the
		patent on Valium expired last week....)

	copyright -- a very general sort of protection, applicable to a
		wide class of works, including computer programs and (now)
		ROM masks.  Copyright vests in the creator of a work by
		virtue of the act of creation; however, an appropriate
		notice must be affixed at time of publication or the work
		reverts to the public domain.  Copyrighted works need
		not be published to retain their protection; I've even seen
		some programs with explicit notices describing the file
		as an unpublished, copyrighted work.  If I write a program
		on my home computer, and you break in and steal it, I can
		sue you for copyright infringement.  Derivative works are
		also protected.  That is, if you write a book, no one can
		make a movie of that book withou your consent.  Copyrights
		expire, too, but after a much longer period of time -- I
		believe that current (U.S.) law specifies the life of the
		author plus 50 years.  Additionally, copyrights can be
		renewed under certain conditions.

	contract protection -- in general, the owner of any object can convey,
		under any sorts of terms, more or less limited rights to use
		that object.  Most software falls in this category, combined
		with copyright protection to establish ownership.  That is,
		AT&T Technologies (formerly known as Wester Electric) *owns*
		the set of programs we know as UNIX.  In return for some
		consideration (i.e., large quantities of bucks), they'll
		sign a contract giving you certain specified rights to use
		their software.

Now -- algorithms are in general not eligible for any of these forms of
protection except trade secret.  (I assume that one can license a trade
secret, but I'm not certain of that.)  I just don't know what class a
protocol falls in.  If protocols are in the same category as algorithms,
then Lauren could *probably* look at some (copyrighted, licensed) UNIX code
to understand it, then sit down and write his own version.  (Note:  before
you do this, please remember again that I'm *not* a lawyer.)  On the other
hand, he might have to prove to some big hairy lawyer that his code is not
derivative from the protected code.  That can make for expensive lawsuits,
and AT&T has lots of money and lots of lawyers...  And of course, whatever
source license he's working under might contain some restrictive covenants
that would bar such use -- remember that the UNIX source code is someone's
property, and you can only use it with their permission.  I don't know what
UNIX licenses say today; I do know that 5 years ago, an educational license
prohibited using UNIX source code in the classroom.

You don't like this, you don't think it's right?  Well, what do you do about
other property laws you don't think are right?  It's really the same thing;
the only question at issue here is what is the definition of property.  If
you believe in the concept of private property (and if you don't, please reply
to net.politics....), I suggest that you lobby to have your own definitions
accepted instead by Congress.  Personally, I do accept the concept of
intangible property, including intellectual property; given that, I admire
Lauren for declining to steal someone else's property.


		--Steve Bellovin
		ulysses!smb

P.S.  The opinions expressed herein are *mine* and mine alone, and do not
necessarily represent the opinions of AT&T Bell Laboratories, its lawyers,
etc.  And I decline to accept any responsibility for any actions anyone takes
based on my understanding of the law.

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From: e...@mtxinu.UUCP (Ed Gould)
Newsgroups: net.unix-wizards
Subject: Re: software ethics
Message-ID: <324@mtxinu.UUCP>
Date: Thu, 21-Mar-85 19:59:24 EST
Article-I.D.: mtxinu.324
Posted: Thu Mar 21 19:59:24 1985
Date-Received: Tue, 26-Mar-85 03:32:12 EST
References: <8893@brl-tgr.ARPA> <10007@ulysses.UUCP>
Organization: mt Xinu, Berkeley, CA
Lines: 126

I'm not a lawyer, either, but in the process of setting up a software
business I spent a lot of time talking to lawyers about just these questions.
Being a Unix business, too, we often discussed the particulars of the
AT&T license.

> It would help if people were a bit more careful about using phrases like
> "trade secret".  I'm sure a lawyer can do better, but let me try to define
> some relevant terms:
> 
> 	trade secret -- some knowledge that is truly kept secret by the
> 		owner, for commercial gain.  An example is the formula
> 		for Coca Cola(R).  It is *legal* to attempt to deduce
> 		a trade secret by reverse engineering, and to use this
> 		knowledge commercially.  Thus, if I buy a computer and
> 		find all the secret ROM entry points by disassembling
> 		a readout, I can write programs to use them.  I can also
> 		use the algorithms contained therein if they are not
> 		otherwise protected.

That's why ROMs are often copyrighted - see below.
 
> 	patent -- a limited-term right to use an original invention, in
> 		exchange for publication of the patent.  Because of the
> 		limited duration, and because essential information must
> 		be disclosed, many companies choose not to patent some
> 		items -- again, Coca Cola is a good example.  (Btw, the
> 		patent on Valium expired last week....)

[Agrees with my understanding.]

> 	copyright -- a very general sort of protection, applicable to a
> 		wide class of works, including computer programs and (now)
> 		ROM masks.  Copyright vests in the creator of a work by
> 		virtue of the act of creation; however, an appropriate
> 		notice must be affixed at time of publication or the work
> 		reverts to the public domain.  Copyrighted works need
> 		not be published to retain their protection; I've even seen
> 		some programs with explicit notices describing the file
> 		as an unpublished, copyrighted work.  If I write a program
> 		on my home computer, and you break in and steal it, I can
> 		sue you for copyright infringement.  Derivative works are
> 		also protected.  That is, if you write a book, no one can
> 		make a movie of that book withou your consent.  Copyrights
> 		expire, too, but after a much longer period of time -- I
> 		believe that current (U.S.) law specifies the life of the
> 		author plus 50 years.  Additionally, copyrights can be
> 		renewed under certain conditions.

Copyright protects "representations", not ideas.  Thus, algorythms may
not be copyrighted, although implementations may.

> 	contract protection -- in general, the owner of any object can convey,
> 		under any sorts of terms, more or less limited rights to use
> 		that object.  Most software falls in this category, combined
> 		with copyright protection to establish ownership.  That is,
> 		AT&T Technologies (formerly known as Wester Electric) *owns*
> 		the set of programs we know as UNIX.  In return for some
> 		consideration (i.e., large quantities of bucks), they'll
> 		sign a contract giving you certain specified rights to use
> 		their software.

Parties are free to enter into *any* contractual relationship that is
not prohibited by law.  That's how trade secrets are let out by their
owners.

> Now -- algorithms are in general not eligible for any of these forms of
> protection except trade secret.  (I assume that one can license a trade
> secret, but I'm not certain of that.)

One certainly can.  The contract by which it's licensed specifies how
the licensee is required to protect the secret.

>					 I just don't know what class a
> protocol falls in.  If protocols are in the same category as algorithms,
> then Lauren could *probably* look at some (copyrighted, licensed)

Copyrighted, yes, if the *implementation* were "substantially" different
from the original.  Licensed, probably not.

>								    UNIX code
> to understand it, then sit down and write his own version.  (Note:  before
> you do this, please remember again that I'm *not* a lawyer.)  On the other
> hand, he might have to prove to some big hairy lawyer that his code is not
> derivative from the protected code.  That can make for expensive lawsuits,
> and AT&T has lots of money and lots of lawyers...  And of course, whatever
> source license he's working under might contain some restrictive covenants
> that would bar such use -- remember that the UNIX source code is someone's
> property, and you can only use it with their permission.

Exactly.  The Unix license requires the licensee to protect AT&T's trade
secret.  They also specify, in a fairly reasonable way, what *is* secret
in the Unix code.  Not *all* of it is.  What is secret are the (I don't
remember the exact wording here) methods and concepts embodied in the
code.  Most, if not all, of the trade secret licenses I've ever seen
contain the release that anything the licensee learns from a third
party without restriction, or is found to be in the public domain,
is not part of the secret.

>							    I don't know what
> UNIX licenses say today; I do know that 5 years ago, an educational license
> prohibited using UNIX source code in the classroom.
> 
> You don't like this, you don't think it's right?  Well, what do you do about
> other property laws you don't think are right?  It's really the same thing;
> the only question at issue here is what is the definition of property.  If
> you believe in the concept of private property (and if you don't, please reply
> to net.politics....), I suggest that you lobby to have your own definitions
> accepted instead by Congress.  Personally, I do accept the concept of
> intangible property, including intellectual property; given that, I admire
> Lauren for declining to steal someone else's property.

I agree completely!  If, as our economic system and culture embrace, people
are to benefit from their labors (again, disagreements/discussions to
net.politics) then one must include programmers' labors, too.

> 		--Steve Bellovin
> 		ulysses!smb
> 
> P.S.  The opinions expressed herein are *mine* and mine alone, and do not
> necessarily represent the opinions of AT&T Bell Laboratories, its lawyers,
> etc.  And I decline to accept any responsibility for any actions anyone takes
> based on my understanding of the law.

-- 
Ed Gould		    mt Xinu, 739 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA  94710  USA
{ucbvax,decvax}!mtxinu!ed   +1 415 644 0146