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Re: Aspell-en license Once again.

Brian Nelson <nelson@bignachos.com> wrote:
> Peter Palfrader <weasel@debian.org> writes:
> > On Wed, 06 Nov 2002, Brian Nelson wrote:
> >
> >> Walter Landry <wlandry@ucsd.edu> writes:
> >> 
> >> > Kevin Atkinson <kevin@atkinson.dhs.org> wrote:
> >> >> This is NOT a clear case of 'something being not freely licensed'.
> >> >> 
> >> >> 1) The exact license of the DEC word list is not clear.
> >> >
> >> > and then later in the DEC description
> >> >
> >> >> 
> >> >>   To the best of my knowledge, all the files I used to build these
> >> >>   wordlists were available for public distribution and use, at least
> >> >>   for non-commercial purposes.  I have confirmed this assumption with
> >> >>   the authors of the lists, whenever they were known.
> >> >>   
> >> >>   Therefore, it is safe to assume that the wordlists in this package
> >> >>   can also be freely copied, distributed, modified, and used for
> >> >>   personal, educational, and research purposes.  (Use of these files in
> >> >>   commercial products may require written permission from DEC and/or
> >> >>   the authors of the original lists.)
> >> >
> >> > which is clearly not a free license.
> >> 
> >> No, that's not the point.
> >
> > IMHO this is exactly the point.
> Why did you snip the rest of my explanation?  As I said, that statement
> is *not* a license.  The DEC word list has no license.

The DEC word list has a license, which we do not know all of the
specifics about.  However, one of the things that we do know about the
license is that it is only for non-commercial use.

> It doesn't have any known copyright either.

This is the part that is more uncertain.  It is certainly not
copyrighted in the US or Australia, but it might be copyrighted in the
EU.  I've asked before, but I'll ask again.  What copyright do you get
for things in the EU if it is not copyrightable in the country of
origin?  Presumably this is covered by a treaty or convention.

If it turns out that something that is

  1) not copyrightable in the US, and
  2) is published originally in the US

then enjoys no protection in the EU, then everything is probably fine.
Debian can reasonably assume that the word list was made in the US.

Also, if the database directive is not retroactive, then everything is
definitely ok.

But arguing that it is ok because no one is bothering anyone smells a
lot like the KDE-Qt arguments.

Walter Landry

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