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Re: Some licensing questions regarding celestia

Sorry it took me so long to get back to you; I was out of town on an 

I wrote:
>> So, what do you recommend for someone who really *wants* to put 
>> something in the public domain?

Rick Moen wrote:
>Do you intend that as a real, non-rhetorical question?  If so, I

>recommend BSD licence with no advertising clause (or MIT/X).  I mean,
Not good enough.  I don't want to require that subsequent users 
reproduce a copyright notice or a license text *at all*.  I want to 
waive *all* rights which I have as a consequence of copyright.
(I do want to retain any *non-copyright*, non-trade-secret rights I may
happen to have.)

>why would you _not_ want the shield against warranty claims?
That's not the issue, the above is.  Do you think that if *I* include a 
warranty disclaimer, but do not *require* all subsequent redistributors 
to include one, that *I* would be liable (rather than the subsequent 
redistributor who failed to include one)?  If so, I'd love to know why.

>And if that person objects that, no, he really, really wants to destroy
>his copyright and make the code be actually (or at least effectively 
>but for certain so) public domain, then I would advise him that it's an
>imperfect world, and nobody knows how to do that without the risk of
>creating very troublesome legal questions for the remaining duration of
>the copyright term.
Well, that's a non-answer.  There's absolutely no reason an "effective 
public domain" license shouldn't be possible.  I haven't seen one 
yet though.

>Oddly enough, a UK acquaintance of mine (from OSI license-discuss) was
>in contact with several of the notables (including Prof. Lessig) whose
>names are cited as founders, to see if they endorsed such site contents
>as the "Public Domain Dedication" at
>http://creativecommons.org/licenses/publicdomain/ .  He reports[2] that
>they do not, and apparently the matter is the subject of some
>controversy.  I have not yet inquired with them directly, though I may
>get around to doing so.

I wrote:
>> No such thing.  Warranties are incurred by distribution and stuff 
>>like that, 
>> not by ownership.

Rick Moen wrote:
>(Please note that my use of the term "owner" was intended to connote
>"author" or "issuer", in this context.)
Ah... "owner" meant "copyright holder" to me.  :-)

>  If you are trying to assert
>that being the identifiable author of a piece of code that is claimed 
>to have done harm would not subject you to liability claims, I would
>suggest you are mistaken.

If I wrote it and kept it secret; and it was distributed without my
authorization; and used to cause harm, I am quite sure I would not 
be subject to any liability claims.  Or if I would be, then the legal 
system is totally off the wall.  But we're getting off the topic.

Nathanael Nerode  <neroden at gcc.gnu.org>

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