svn commit: r187580 - head/tools/sched

Robert Watson rwatson at
Thu Jan 22 14:59:00 PST 2009

On Thu, 22 Jan 2009, Ivan Voras wrote:

> 2009/1/22 Robert Watson <rwatson at>:
>> FWIW, the one case where I don't really do that is when I worked on some 
>> code on my own and hence hold the copyright for it, then did some work 
>> under a contract for a customer on it such that they own the copyright on 
>> enhancements, and then I do some further work on my own.  In that case, 
>> I'll leave a discontinuity to reflect the fact that the copyright on 
>> changes made in the gap were assigned elsewhere.  Not clear this is the 
>> right thing to do, but I'm fairly sure at least some of my customers are 
>> more comfortable with that as it leaves no confusion in the source as to 
>> which bits they sponsored/own.
> Of course this is purely cosmetic as "one year" is a terrible granularity 
> for commits to a moving target :)
> (i.e. legally it's worthless information)

Sorry, that simply isn't the case, as copyright expiration doesn't track the 
exact moment at which something was created.  Copyright law varies by country, 
but US copyright law is of particular importance to the FreeBSD Project, so I 
direct you to the US Copyright Office's rather helpful circular 92, which 
provides a useful summary:

   § 305. Duration of copyright: Terminal date

   All terms of copyright provided by sections 302 through 304 run to the end
   of the calendar year in which they would otherwise expire.

So the year of creation really is the date that matters. And as nebulous as 
the far-off expiration of copyright dates may seem to you now, remember that: 
(a) we work on software that includes copyrights almost 30 years old, and (b) 
copyright law has an annoying propensity to change out from under you.

Robert N M Watson
Computer Laboratory
University of Cambridge

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