Subject: Re: What to do when 3rd party BSD/MIT software doesn't include a copyright notice or license text?
From: Alistair Davidson <>
Date: Mon, 17 Aug 2009 17:52:08 +0100

Just to be clear - there is NO QUESTION of us trying to claim  
copyright for third-party code. That would be, as you say, just plain  

I'm just trying to make sure I comply with the license and retain the  
"original copyright notice" - which, as I said, doesn't exist!

On 17 Aug 2009, at 17:00, verdy_p wrote:

> "Cinly Ooi"
>> What you cannot do is to claim copyright on behalf of the original
>> author.
> That's plain wrong ! And there has been countless examples about  
> that in the very bad history of "interllectual
> property" rights protection (not just in softwares, but with  
> agressive patents that were granted and accepted, and
> then extremely difficult or impossible to rule out by the original  
> designers, even if they could prove that they
> were the authors). Here the rule is extremely often "first claimed,  
> first served", unless you can really prove that
> the products were obtained illegally from you by the offending  
> claimer.
> That's why you need a proof of authorship by an explicit statement  
> in everything you create and distribute: that
> claim is a proof unless someone can prove that you have lied with a  
> proof of prior art effectively claimed by
> someone else.
> What you cannot claim in this case is authorship. But if you are not  
> the author and want to claim the copyright, you
> may need to exhibit a proof for the transfer of copyright, to  
> protect you from further claims by the authors. But if
> you don't have an explicit licence with the package, it will be  
> difficult for you to exhibit this proof, and you'll
> have to make it yourself, to justify that you got the product  
> legally, including the copyrights on it.
> Authorship is independant of copyright, it is not transferable like  
> copyrights in many countries, and sometimes
> remains protected even if the author no longer has the copyright (or  
> has sold it). The exception to authorship is
> when a software is made by someone for a company or someone else as  
> part of a contract job during periods where he
> is paid: the employer can claim all rights (but this is not true in  
> all countries, notably those that recognize the
> moral rights).
> Authorship is not transferable by licences (including non- 
> exclusively, which would make absolutely no sense in wide
> distributions to uncounted people). Licences do not necessarily  
> cover authorship, unless this is stated explicitly
> by a separate statement of claim or within the text of the licence  
> itself. However authors/creators can be added to
> a piece of art if they modify it or add elements in it. If you don't  
> add yourself to the list of authors in a
> distribution that you have modified, you still cannot claim that the  
> initial author is the author of your
> modifications (because he might not endorse it and the  
> responsability in case of damages).
> The copyright indicates only who owns the rights (including derived  
> rights) for use, distribution or licencing, i.e.
> those that are certainly the most critical for you to see if your  
> use or redistribution is legal.