Subject: Re: Public domain software is not open-source?
From: "Alexander Terekhov" <alexander.terekhov@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2008 18:59:12 +0100

On Mon, Mar 3, 2008 at 6:50 PM, John Cowan <cowan@ccil.org> wrote:
> Alexander Terekhov scripsit:
>
> > I suggest that you write an article explaining how public domain
> > software can be "re-used" under a copyright license stating for
> > example that "This Open Software License (the "License") applies to
> > any original work of authorship (the "Original Work") whose owner (the
> > "Licensor") has placed the following licensing notice adjacent to the
> > copyright notice for the Original Work: ..." and purporting to grant
> > something that doesn't belong to the owner (the "Licensor") because
> > former original owner put it into public domain.
>
> An original work is no less original because it incorporates material
> from the public domain, although the difference from the public domain
> must be sufficient to rise to the rather weak threshold of originality.

HOUSE REPORT NO. 94-1476:

-----
Section 103 complements section 102: A compilation or derivative
work is copyrightable if it represents an ''original work of
authorship'' and falls within one or more of the categories listed
in section 102. Read together, the two sections make plain that
the criteria of copyrightable subject matter stated in section 102
apply with full force to works that are entirely original and to
those containing preexisting material. Section 103(b) is also
intended to define, more sharply and clearly than does section 7
of the present law (section 7 of former title 17), the important
interrelationship and correlation between protection of preexisting
and of ''new'' material in a particular work. The most important
point here is one that is commonly misunderstood today: copyright
in a ''new version'' covers only the material added by the later
author, and has no effect one way or the other on the copyright or
public domain status of the preexisting material.
-----

HAS NO EFFECT ONE WAY OR THE OTHER ON PUBLIC DOMAIN STATUS OF THE
PREEXISTING MATERIAL

It means that public domain remains public domain no matter how you
"re-use" it.

Your copyright license covers only new copyrighted material.

regards,
alexander.

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