Subject: Re: BSD-like licenses and the OSI approval process
From: Rick Moen <>
Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2007 11:42:24 -0700

Quoting dlw (

> When speaking of distributing derivative works you must distinguish 
> among several cases:
> Case(2)
> The original author A has an original work modified by author B as a
> work for hire. Then author A is the exclusive owner. Author A may
> license and distribute as he pleases.

Incorrect (assuming you're speaking of author B being a non-employee).

In USA jurisdictions, software is not one of the enumerated catories of
works in the Copyright Act that qualify for "work for hire" treatment as
to independent contractors (as opposed to employees).  Those categories
are:  These categories are (1) motion pictures, (2) other audiovisual
works, (3) translations, (4) supplementary works, (5) compilations, (6)
instructional texts, (7) tests, (8) answer sheets for tests and
(9)atlases.  (See:  17 U.S.C. sec 101.)

Thus, unless there is an explicit written assignment of all rights in a
specified work, copyright vests in the independent-contractor developer,
and doesn't follow the or "work specially ordered or commissioned"