[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: What is the licence of Debian-specific files (Was: Intent to package "vibrant" graphical library

On Wed, 17 Feb 1999, Craig Sanders wrote:

> you can re-license public domain stuff as there is no copyright, i.e.
> there is NOTHING which prevents you from doing so.


> there is no copyright or license for public domain stuff. you can do
> *anything* you want with it.

You can do anything you want.  However, you cannot 'license' it.  You can
sell it, of course.  However, you cannot stop someone else from copying

There are two major reasons that it might be illegal to copy something:

1) You are violating someone's copyright;

2) You have signed a contract stating that you will not do it.

If I take something which is 'in the public domain', and give it to you,
saying 'this is GPL'ed', then I cannot stop you copying it.  If you
copy it, you certainly haven't violated my copyright - since I don't have
the copyright. You have potentially violated the copyright of the original
owner - but he has given you permission to do anything at all with it.

I am fairly sure that you will also find that the phrase 'in the public
domain', whilst having a fairly common popular usage, doesn't have any
precise legal definition. I believe it is normally interpreted, more or
less, as 'you may copy at will'.


|  Jelibean aka  | jules@jellybean.co.uk         |  6 Evelyn Rd	       |
|  Jules aka     | jules@debian.org              |  Richmond, Surrey   |
|  Julian Bean   | jmlb2@hermes.cam.ac.uk        |  TW9 2TF *UK*       |
|  War doesn't demonstrate who's right... just who's left.             |
|  When privacy is outlawed... only the outlaws have privacy.          |

Reply to: