[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Is license text copyrightable? [was: Re: Is OSL 2.0 compliant with DFSG?]

On Mon, 12 Apr 2004, Nathanael Nerode wrote:
> However, the courts apparently never uphold claims of infrignement
> based on the use of essentially-identical (boilerplate) legal text
> in other contracts or licenses.  (I think there was a case where the
> supplier of fill-in-the-blank forms sued for copyright infrignment
> and lost, but I can't look it up right now.)

That's presumably because they found that the legal boilerplate was
not a work of authorship. [At least, one hopes that is what they

If the legal text is a work of authorship, then it's copyrightable to
the extent that it is so.

It's really no different from any other work in that regards.

To my current understanding[1], copyrightability works
something like the following flow chart:

Authorship:    Y (continue)      N (not copyrightable)
The Law:       N (continue)      Y (not copyrightable)
By Government: N (copyrightable) N (not copyrightable) 
[At least, in the US]

Don Armstrong

1: As always, I'm not a lawyer or qualified to have an opinion beyond
that of a layman's.
It has always been Debian's philosophy in the past to stick to what
makes sense, regardless of what crack the rest of the universe is
 -- Andrew Suffield in 20030403211305.GD29698@doc.ic.ac.uk


Reply to: