Friday, January 31, 2020

Copyleft vs the DeWitt Clause

There is recent benchmarketing drama between AWS and Microsoft.

Section 1.8 of the AWS service terms includes:
(ii) agree that we may perform and disclose the results of Benchmarks of your products or services, irrespective of any restrictions on Benchmarks in the terms governing your products or services.
Some software includes a DeWitt Clause to prevent users and competitors from publishing benchmark results. I am not a lawyer but wonder if section 1.8 of the AWS service terms allows Amazon to counter with their own benchmark results when their competitors software and services use a DeWitt Clause. This would be similar to the effect of copyleft.

I hope David DeWitt doesn't mind the attention that the DeWitt Clause receives. He has done remarkable database research that has generated so much -- great PhD topics, better DBMS products, a larger CS department at UW-Madison and many jobs. But he is also famous for the DeWitt Clause.

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