In message <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> Nate Williams writes:
: > | > 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.
: On that released version, yes. But, not on subsuquent versions. I
: still maintain my rights to do with the code as I please.
Then you are creating a new work, based on the public domain work that
went before it.
: > | 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.
: See above.
But Andrew is right here. You lose your rights to it when you
abandoned your copyright to place it in the public domain. Public
Domain is a specific, legal term with legal consequences. It means
you have no rights whatsoever to the work and others can do whatever
they like with the work.,
: > | 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.
: That's not how I understand it to be, from speaking with lawyers on it.
Your understanding differs greatly from my understanding. And I've
spoken to legal departments in many different companies, read many
different articles on Copyright vs Public Domain, etc. I've been in
charge of placing proper copyright notices in files, drafting such
: > 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.
: I believe this is part of the Berne Convention, no? (And, it's not
: necessarily agreed upon by *all* countries in the world, hence the
: reason why certain companies explicity deny you to download software in
: certain countries. I believe Libya is one...)
Taiwan didn't agree to the Berne Convention either.. The reason that
ocmpanies explicitly deny downloading software to certain countries is
that the US has an embargo against those countries and the import of
anything without an explicit license from the state department is
: > The GPL was born because Stallman got burnt by releasing a version of
: > emacs (I think) into the Public Domain.
: I don't believe it was PD code. However, RMS never explicitly listed
: the rights the users had, and another company took the software,
: modified it, and started selling it as commercial software. RMS still
: had the rights on his original software, but he couldn't 'go back' and
: take away the rights he had granted in his initial release, so he
: couldn't stop the company from making money on 'his work'.
RMS's legal claims were murkey at best.
: > I 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.
: Actually, if I remember correctly, the company did acknowledge that he
: wrote it, but that didn't help his cause. (I actually got a catalog
: from the company in question, but I can't remember the name offhand).
: He was free to re-use the same software, and release it under a
: different license for use in EMACS. (I believe that EMACS still
: contains some of the original LISP macros he initially developed, but
: they are now under the GPL license.)
Actually, if you read the history, you'll find that what happened was
that Gosling released emacs. Stallman started hacking on it.
Stallman got an email from Gosling granting him rights to distribute
the derived work. Gosling then sold it to Unipress. Unipress went
after Stallman for distributing their copyrighted code. Stallman
couldn't find the email from Gosling conferring him these rights (his
claim was that it was on a backup tape he couldn't read), so he had to
abandon the work he did on Gosling emacs. He rewrote everything in
what would become gnu emacs.
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