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Re: copyright law vs. license text (Was: Honesty in Debian)




"Stuart Yeates" <stuart.yeates@oucs.ox.ac.uk> wrote in message 20060213201315.E022E10D6A@webmail224.herald.ox.ac.uk">news:20060213201315.E022E10D6A@webmail224.herald.ox.ac.uk...
In the USA copyright can be enforced even on laws:

http://www.constructionweblinks.com/Resources/Industry_Reports__Newsletters/May_17_2004/supreme.html


I'm assuming that the legislation in question included the codes (literally the text of the codes) rather than simply refer them.

IMHO that ruling was just simply wrong. Laws by their nature must be freely available and editable. Therefore public domain or something similar must be applied to them. A state government (or even the federal government) cannot just publish a work copyrighted by somebody else without permission. That is copyright infringment. I would argue that the introducer of the bill should have been sued by the holder of the rights to the codes. But The holder waited far too long, and the law was published, and so now it has implicity granted the right to the government to publish the work into the public domain.








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