Subject: Re: Can OSI specify that public domain is open source?
From: Chad Perrin <>
Date: Wed, 7 Sep 2011 15:54:46 -0600
Wed, 7 Sep 2011 15:54:46 -0600
On Wed, Sep 07, 2011 at 05:48:44PM -0400, John Cowan wrote:
> Thorsten Glaser scripsit:
> >
> > If some (non-government) US American were to take VistA, change some
> > amount of work in it, then publish the result -- with his changes
> > under say the BSD licence -- what's it then, to us non-Americans?
> A work belonging to that American, but licensed to you under the terms
> of the BSD license, assuming the BSD license is valid in Germany.  The
> same would be true in the U.S.

This is actually not clear to me.  Are you sure the BSD License used
would not apply only in the US, where it was in the public domain before
being modified?  Can a relicensed modification of a copyrighted work in
France be legal just because it was relicensed in another country where
it was public domain?  If that works (presumably anywhere), I should
start shipping code whose license terms I do not like to nations where
there essentially is no such thing as copyright, have an associate there
make a minor modification and relicense it, then import it back here.

I suppose there's an argument to be made that, because the copyright
comes as a result of the creation of the work within the US, the law in
the US that allows the work to be relicensed with copyright assigned to
the modifier might essentially cause a copyright fork in other countries.
The unmodified version would then be strict copyright "owned" by the
origninator without any license, while the modified version would be
copyright "owned" by the modifier licensed under the terms of the BSD
License, if this is how it works.  I'm no lawyer, though, and am not in a
position to say whether that's how copyright law works internationally.

Chad Perrin [ original content licensed OWL: ]

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