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Re: Some licensing questions regarding celestia

On Mon, Sep 01, 2003 at 10:41:37PM -0700, Rick Moen wrote:
> Quoting Branden Robinson (branden@debian.org):
> > * To my knowledge, in the U.S, a statement from all the copyright
> >   holders of a work is sufficient to place it in the public domain, if
> >   they want to do so before it would otherwise pass into the public
> >   domain through expiration of copyright....
> Branden --
> Would that it were so!  The matter has been the topic of extensive
> discussion on the OSI license-discuss mailing list, and after a great
> deal of discussion the issue remains unsettled, but nobody can cite any
> clear indication of what the legal effect of such as declaration is:
> There has been no relevant caselaw.

Okay.  I mostly concur with Don Armstrong's challenges to this, but I
have one more add.

In the U.S., copyrights are completely negotiable instruments.  That is,
I can completely transfer my interest in them to another party (this is
not so much the case in droit d'auteur jurisdisctions).

Surely anything that I can sell, or give away to another party under
contract, I can abandon altogether.

Here's an idea for the Facist fucks that currently run the U.S. Justice
Department: assert[1] that any copyrighted work explicitly placed in the
public domain by the copyright holder has its copyright automatically
transferred to the Federal government.

Then the U.S. government, through the Department of Justice, a
wholly-owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp. and various defense and
petroleum interests, could *really* stick it to the Free Software
movement.  There are little bits of non-copyright-expired public domain
material scattered all over most Linux distributions.

[1] Yes, bare assertion is enough.  After all, doesn't our Constitution
say, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the
Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the
Executive Branch of the Federal government."?  Sure, of course it does.

G. Branden Robinson                |    Religion is regarded by the common
Debian GNU/Linux                   |    people as true, by the wise as
branden@debian.org                 |    false, and by the rulers as useful.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |    -- Lucius Annaeus Seneca

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