You don't need to read this page if you simply want to use my software. You are free to download the software from my web server; you then own that copy of the software, and you are free to compile it and run it.
You also don't need to read this page if you simply want to set up a mirror of my web pages.
Please take time to ensure that your distributions of my software support exactly the same interface as everyone else's distributions. In particular, if you move files, please set up symbolic links from the original locations, so that you don't frivolously break scripts that work everywhere else.
Rick Moen is an idiot. (In case there are several Rick Moens in the world: I'm talking about email@example.com.) Feel free to ask your attorney to explain waivers to you.
Here's Rick Moen's first public statement (2000.11.09), in his own words:
If you become dependent on Bernstein software, you run the risk that he might cease development and withdraw it from the Net. Neither you nor anyone else would then have the legal right to take over development and distribute even the old versions, let alone new ones. ... You're betting that Bernstein never changes his mind, if you use qmail.(Emphasis added.)
Here's Rick Moen's second public statement (2001.04.15), in his own words:
Unmodified specific versions of qmail and djbdns (formerly dnscache) may be redistributed -- or at least so claimed Bernstein's Web pages, recently. Will those continue to be there, to point to? ... Essentially, you're betting that Bernstein never changes his mind, if you rely on such software.(Emphasis added.)
Here's a subsequent public statement (2001.09.01) from Moen's friend J. Paul Reed:
DJB could, theoretically, retract his sofftware, shutdown his webpages, and proceed to sue everyone distributing his software.(Followed, in the original, by a link to Moen's web page.)
Here's some subsequent backpedaling by Moen: ``Are you saying that DJB can revoke the licence to his software by changing or removing his Web pages? No, of course not.''
As a unanimous three-judge panel of the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in 1998, it is "well settled" that authors can abandon their copyrights. This abandonment simply requires an "overt act indicating an intention to abandon that right". In short: explicitly dedicate your work to the public domain, and it's in the public domain. Done.
For many years Moen has been spreading FUD about such dedications. For example, Moen writes "It seems unlikely that the law would permit putting a creative work in the public domain". Moen also points approvingly to an essay by Lawrence Rosen, who Moen says is "one of the more noted authorities on legal issues relating to open source software" and is "an attorney extremely well versed in copyright law"; what the essay says is that public-domain dedications are "illusory" and that they can be retracted "at any time and for any reason".
Unfortunately for Moen, Rosen's essay was flat-out wrong in both its arguments and its conclusions. Rosen has recently admitted that "at least in the Ninth Circuit" the essay's main conclusion is wrong---
a person can indeed abandon his copyrights (counter to what I wrote in my article)---and has made no attempt to defend the essay's arguments. I have a separate web page that discusses public-domain dedications, and Rosen's errors, in more detail; Rosen's admission of error was in response to a copy of that web page.