+-------[ Nate Williams ]----------------------
| > If you ever claimed to hold the copyright to software that has been
| > released into the public domain, you would be commiting fraud.
| Not if I'm the author of the software.
| I can release my software under as many licenses as I'd like, including
| putting it into the public domain.
Once it's in the Public Domain you have abandoned your claim to copyright.
That is the point of the Public Domain. If you still wish to retain the
copyright and the associated rights you cannot release it into the Public
| As the original author, you never lose your rights to the software,
| unless you assign your rights away to another entity, who knows has the
Or you abandon those rights by releasing it into the Public Domain.
| Back to the original question, Charles Mott is the original author of
| said code, and he can release his software under any license he so
| pleases. If someone has a copy of his software released under the PD
| license, they are free to do with it as they please. However, he can
| *also* release a version under the BSD license (which he has), and that
| version is now being distributed by FreeBSD. This is all completely
| free and legal, because Charles is within his legal rights to do so.
The Public Domain is not a license, it is an abandonment of copyright.
If you find a piece of code, without a license attached, then copyright
law prevents you from copying, modifying or redistributing that code
(or book, or music) without written permission. A license removes
restrictions that are granted by copyright law, typically Open Source
licenses loosen the distribution, and modification restrictions, and
disclaim the author(s) from liability.
Placing something into the public domain is abandoning your claim to
copyright on that item, and there-after you have the same rights as everyone
else, or more to the point, everyone else has the same rights as you do
to that piece.
People don't understand the implications of releasing things into the
Public Domain, or understand what the Public Domain is. Licensed code is
not in the Public Domain. Public Domain is not a description of Free/Open
The GPL was born because Stallman got burnt by releasing a version of
emacs (I think) into the Public Domain. A company started selling it,
and RMS had no claim to any of the monies, nor could he stop them from
selling a binary only version of it (or selling it at all), nor could he
force them to acknowledge it was written by him. This may be apocryphal,
but, it does spell out the consequences of releasing software into the
Public Domain. Open Source Parable perhaps...
Totally Holistic Enterprises Internet| | Andrew Milton
The Internet (Aust) Pty Ltd | |
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