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Re: [aspell-devel] Problems with aspell-en license

On Wed, 23 Oct 2002, Branden Robinson wrote:

> I'll seed it with public
> domain sources and add words to it on the premise that any word other
> than a proper noun or proper adjective is uncopyrightable on its face.
> Proper nouns and adjectives from public domain works for which no
> trademark is in evidence can also be included.  Let me know if you guys
> think this is the best solution.  Aspell-dev readers, since none of you
> have contributed to this discussion I'll assume the legalese has bored
> you to tears.  This is one suggestion I have for putting a stop to it.

I will repeat the argument I made before:

Since SCOWL is a compilation of several word lists, one of them which in
DEC which is also a compilation of several word lists.  I really do not
think there is a problem.  Many many of the word lists in SCOWL are taken
the words in well known copyrighted dictionaries. So a case could be made
that many of the other word lists SCOWL uses are also also of questionable
copyright and should be removed which will lead me with nothing.  I also
have a felling that this is how many of the Ispell/Aspell dictionaries are
created for other languages.  So you better remove every single
Ispell/Aspell dictionary from the Debian distribution because you could be
violating some one eleses copyright.

The point is that if I did not list my sources it will be virtually
imposable for some one to prove in court that I violated a copyright of
one of the word lists used in the DEC word list.  Thus even if I did
violate a copyright it will virtually be unenforceable due to the very
indirect nature which I used the word lists.

I will remove the DEC word list from my source only if Debian will refuse
to include the English word list due to questionable copyright on some of
the sources that DEC uses.  But If I do I will make a note on the reason
why it is removed which will include a statement by me which more or less
states that I think Durban-legal is being completely anneal about the

Please keep in mind however that, the DEC Word List is used in the
linux.words package which the author claims is free of any copyright.  
This word list has been used any many distributes including Debian's as
"text/wenglish".  So if you are going to be anneal about Aspell word lists
you should also remove this package.

If the DEC word list author was not so careful to list all of his sources 
this issue would never have come up.  

It would be a horrible waste of effort to maintain another word list just 
because of such a minor technicality.   Also, how can you know for sure 
that Word List on the net are truly free of copyright.  Suppose the 
author "thinks" it was but neglected to carefully list all of his sources 
like the DEC author did.  Thus you could be volatile a copyright with out 
even knowing it.

This is all I am going to say about the matter.  I will act when there is 
a general consensus on debian-legal about what to do.


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