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Re: Yearless copyrights: what do people think?

On 2023-02-26 at 18:43 +0200, Adrian Bunk wrote:
> On Wed, Feb 22, 2023 at 07:39:09AM -0700, Sam Hartman wrote:
> > As Jonas mentions, including the years allows people to know when
> > works
> > enter the public domain and the license becomes more liberal.
> > I think our users are better served by knowing when the Debian
> > packaging
> > would enter the public domain.
> If this is the intention, then including the years is pointless.
> Article 7 of the Berne Convention says:
> (1) The term of protection granted by this Convention shall be the
> life 
>     of the author and fifty years after his death.
> ....
> (6) The countries of the Union may grant a term of protection in
> excess 
>     of those provided by the preceding paragraphs.


The Copyright year for determining when the work enters public domain
can be useful for US works published before 1978, but little more.

Now most countries have settled on 70 years post mortem auctoris (and
while there are countries with shorter terms, with the US not following
the rule of the shorter term, you would probably still need to wait
those 70 years if doing some business there)

It could be useful when the author is unknown or there is corporate
authorship, in which case the US copyright term is 95 years from first
*publication* (which _may_ be different from the copyright year) or 120
years after creation.

Another can of worms is that the copyright year is often not well-
maintained. There may be program changes with no bump of the copyright
year, and you find as well projects that updating the number yearly,
regardless if there are actually changes or not (so the stated year
doesn't actually give the real information).

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