Subject: Re: Help Selecting License
From: Rick Moen <>
Date: Sat, 24 Jul 2004 10:36:25 -0700

Quoting Fabian Bastin (

> While I am not a lawyer, I think that Public Domain does not exist in a 
> legal sense in most of the European countries. In particular, an author 
> cannot give away all his rights, especially with respect to his honour. 
> You can only speak about Public Domain after the expiration of the 
> authorship rights (usually seventy years after the author's death), 
> otherwise it can lead to confusion. Therefore you should probably be 
> very careful if you try to clarify what Public Domain means on an 
> international level.

Alex was part of a brief discussion in December in which he asserted
(and I paraphrase; any distortion is unintentional) that promotion of
the concept of "public domain" dedications by Creative Commons and (per
Alex) by O'Reilly & Associates suggested some legal merit to the concept
under USA law -- despite serious legal problems amply noted here in
previous discussions.  To my knowledge, nothing has been resolved,

The lack of clarity about the work's status under diverse legal systems
(that you speak of, above) was one of the problems noted -- but not the
most serious of them.

One of the things I said at the time was:  It should be pointed out that
a "public domain declaration" would _not_ be a licence, but rather an
attempt to nullify copyright title (which may or may not work, and may
have differing results depending on jurisdiction).

Cheers,     Founding member of the Hyphenation Society, a grassroots-based, 
Rick Moen   not-for-profit, locally-owned-and-operated, cooperatively-managed,     modern-American-English-usage-improvement association.