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Re: OSD && DFSG convergence

On 20030126T194352-0500, Branden Robinson wrote:
> On Sun, Jan 26, 2003 at 10:57:01PM +0200, Antti-Juhani Kaijanaho wrote:
> > As far as I know, public-domain software does not exist.
> Nonsense.

>From WordNet (r) 1.7 [wn]:

       adj : having no intelligible meaning; "nonsense syllables"; "a
             nonsensical jumble of words" [syn: {nonsense(a)}, {nonsensical}]
       n 1: a message that seems to convey no meaning [syn: {nonsensicality},
             {meaninglessness}, {hokum}]
       2: ornamental objects of no great value [syn: {falderal}, {folderol},
           {frills}, {gimcrackery}, {gimcracks}, {trumpery}]

I doubt that.  It may be false, but it is not unintelligible.

> In the U.S., at least, copyright holders always have the
> option of placing their copyrightable works into the public domain
> through an explicit declaration.

I visual-grepped the USA copyright law documentation.  I could not find
anything that supports this.  Do you have a reference?

(In any case, whether or not such declarations are effective with
respect to copyright protection, they can IMO be regarded as a license
stating "you can treat this work as if it were in the public domain".)

> Also, there is -- again in the U.S. -- such a thing as an
> uncopyrightable work, and such things can be in the public domain[1].

Sure there are uncopyrightable works.  There are such things in Finland,
too.  I was explicitly limiting myself to software, for which I am not
aware of any uncopyrightability.

> The Debian distribution contains things that aren't "software", like
> word lists, and some of things are neither software nor subject to
> copyright law (in the U.S.).

If it is not software, then it is not public-domain software.

(I even remember past discussions on Debian lists, perhaps even this
one, where it was debated whether the DFSG, _software_ guidelines,
apply to such works.)

Antti-Juhani Kaijanaho, FM (MSc)       * http://www.iki.fi/gaia/ * gaia@iki.fi

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