Subject: RE: Please add "Public Domain" to "license" list
From: "Lawrence E. Rosen" <lrosen@rosenlaw.com>
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2003 15:21:43 -0800

You've answered it beautifully.  Give this guy a law degree!  :-)
/Larry Rosen

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Rick Moen [mailto:rick@linuxmafia.com] 
> Sent: Friday, March 14, 2003 10:10 AM
> To: license-discuss@opensource.org
> Subject: Re: Please add "Public Domain" to "license" list
> 
> 
> Quoting David A. Wheeler (dwheeler@dwheeler.com):
> 
> > Hello - I'd like to ask OSI to add "Public Domain" to the 
> open source 
> > software license list at:  
> > http://www.opensource.org/licenses/index.php
> 
> I'm not sure there's reasonable consensus on the legal effect 
> of declaring one's copyrighted work to be in the public domain.
> 
> In the context of USA Federal law, at least, I've looked in 
> vain through 17 USC to find any provision permitting a 
> copyrighted work to become public domain before expiry of its 
> copyright term.  
> 
> People have sometimes claimed that caselaw has interpreted 
> public-domain declarations as irrevocable licences for gratis 
> usage by anyone -- but I haven't seen citations, let alone 
> any showing that wide legal precedent exists.  Moreover, it 
> seems a-priori unlikely that an author could excuse himself 
> from any duties that go with copyright ownership, though such 
> a declaration:  Otherwise, it'd be a dandy way to evade 
> product-liability lawsuits.
> 
> It seems possible, even, that a public-domain declaration 
> might have _no_ legal effect.  All told, I don't know if the 
> OSI should want to put its stamp on this particular can of worms.
> 
> (Disclaimer:  IANAL.  Fortunately, the above does not contain 
> legal assertions, only questions I think are relevant.)
> 
> -- 
> Cheers,                                      "My file 
> system's got no nodes!"
> Rick Moen                                    "How does it shell?"
> rick@linuxmafia.com  
> --
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> 

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