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Bug#229785: Fwd: Re: Hash function

Mr. Jenkins,


I am a member of the XFree86 packaging team for the Debian Project, and
I'm the root cause of this nagging about the license of your hash

There is no problem with your statement that you have placed it in the
public domain, and I also have no problem preserving identification of
you as the author.

I wanted to offer that assurance along with a (lengthy) explanation of
why this was even an issue.

The reason I've been a stickler about this is that the Debian Project
has learned over the years that not all jurisdictions, particularly
those in Europe, have a concept of "placing in public domain" that is
directly analogous to that in the United States.  Many European
jurisdictions have a concept called "droit d'auteur" ("authorial rights"
or sometimes "moral rights") which are distinct from copyright, and
whose application to digital works is unclear.

It is conceivable, for instance, that despite disclaiming copyright
protection, in Europe you could compel the removal of your name from a
work that accurately credited you if you found that work distasteful.
E.g., imagine your hash algorithm being used in an industrial control
application for factory farming, a practice which some people find
ethically objectionable.

In the U.S., as far as I know, you would have no such cause of action.
People still have to be careful not to imply that you endorse their
work, and they have no right in any case to use your name or likeness in
promotional or advertising materials without your consent, but in Europe
-- as I understand it -- "moral rights" permit you to dissociate your
name from a work that includes or is derived from yours, even when your
name is used accurately.

So, in much more than a nutshell, that is why Debian sweats this sort of

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns
about our use of your work.

Thank you again for your clarifying statement, and for your


Thanks for helping me to understand the provenance of the code you've

On Fri, May 28, 2004 at 09:58:27AM -0300, Margarita Manterola wrote:
> About the licence of the hash algorithm:
> ----- Forwarded message from Bob Jenkins <bob_jenkins@burtleburtle.net> -----
> From: Bob Jenkins <bob_jenkins@burtleburtle.net>
> Date: Thu, 27 May 2004 22:33:06 -0700
> To: Margarita Manterola <marga@marga.com.ar>
> Subject: Re: Hash function
> Margarita Manterola wrote:
> >Hi!
> >
> >Sorry to bother you, I hope you still have this email.
> >
> >I'm wishing to use or hash() algorithm, from the lookup2.c in a piece of
> >XFree86 code. In order to be able to do this legally and properly, the
> >code needs to be licenced with some specific licence :|...  Stating that
> >it is free seems not to be enough. :|
> >
> >Could you state that the code is covered under the GPL, or BSD Licences,
> >or some other licence you like, but that is written somewhere, pretty
> >pretty please?
> >
> >Thanks for the great algorithm and for making it free.
> >
> >Love,
> >Margarita Manterola.
> >
> The algorithm is public domain.  I ask that I be referenced as the 
> source of the algorithm, but I can't enforce that, since being public 
> domain means I've reserved no rights at all.
> ----- End forwarded message -----
> So, is public domain enough?  I know the text does not state it's public
> domain, but the author is stating it here...

G. Branden Robinson                |    Of two competing theories or
Debian GNU/Linux                   |    explanations, all other things
branden@debian.org                 |    being equal, the simpler one is to
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |    be preferred.      -- Occam's Razor

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