Subject: Re: Can OSI specify that public domain is open source?
From: Karl Fogel <>
Date: Wed, 07 Sep 2011 16:35:41 -0400
Wed, 07 Sep 2011 16:35:41 -0400
Chad Perrin <> writes:
>> What's more, if you modify a public domain program, the modified version
>> bears your copyright (even if not marked as such), and the result is
>> fully proprietary unless you give it a license.  Some of the code in the
>> self-declared public domain Olson TZ database, to say nothing of the
>> database itself, is quite shaky in this respect:  Arthur David Olson is
>> a federal employee, but the current maintainer, Paul Eggert, works for
>> the State of California (assuming I have not conflated two different
>> Paul Eggerts here).
>As I understand things, there is no particular requirement for an open
>source license to be non-removable to meet the standards of the OSD.  If
>we assume for the moment that the public domain can be applied to a work
>without issues, the fact a derived or modified work can be licensed
>differently does not make it less "open source", as far as I'm aware, and
>the same could be said for an open source license that includes a clause
>that allows relicensing (such as the WTFPL).  Am I mistaken?

I think you're right, and therefore don't think this is an objection,
though it is an interesting phenomenon of course.

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