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Re: Freeness of vague Synopsys license

Andreas Bombe writes ("Freeness of vague Synopsys license"):
> I am currently working on reintroducing GHDL into Debian. It is a VHDL
> compiler/simulator that includes non-standard VHDL libraries from
> various vendors and I have to throw out most of them (unlike before, it
> now comes with the core standard libraries reimplemented under a free
> license). I'm now unsure whether I should keep the Synopsys libraries
> which found some wider use before its features were finally offered by
> the VHDL language standard.
> Here is the copyright statement and license from one of the files in its
> entirety:
> | Copyright (c) 1990, 1991, 1992 by Synopsys, Inc.  All rights reserved.
> |
> | This source file may be used and distributed without restriction
> | provided that this copyright statement is not removed from the file
> | and that any derivative work contains this copyright notice.
> It offers use and distribution without restriction, but technically not
> explicitly modification. However, if permission of modification weren't
> intended, the requirement of keeping the copyright statement would be
> pointless. Therefore I am leaning towards permission of modification
> being implied.

I agree with your interpretation.

The implication you are imputing is necessary for the wording to make
sense.  At least all the common law jurisdictions I'm familiar with
would take the same approach to interpretation of legal language as
you have done.

> Keeping these files would be "nice to have" but not a requirement. Users
> with legacy VHDL projects using Synopsys libraries would need to find
> and install these libraries themselves if they were removed.

Even better: that means that in the very unlikely even that someone
would disagree with our interpretation, we could simply remove these
files again without having to untangle a lot of within-Debian

But even if that weren't the case I think the necessarily implication
is that permission was granted (and the copyrightholders are likely to
be estopped from claiming otherwise because everyone has been relying
on that implied permission for, presumably, years).


Ian Jackson <ijackson@chiark.greenend.org.uk>   These opinions are my own.

If I emailed you from an address @fyvzl.net or @evade.org.uk, that is
a private address which bypasses my fierce spamfilter.

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