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Re: Bug#294559: Public domain licensing

On Thu, Feb 10, 2005 at 03:12:32PM +0100, Martin Samuelsson wrote:
> It have been claimed that PD is a vague definition and the way GNU
> defines freedom, PD is only almost free because future versions might
> not be free. But that only applies do derived works, right? My
> understanding is that once released under the public domain, the
> public's right to that release can't be revoked? Have I gotten that
> entirely wrong?

I've never heard of this.  Public domain works are free.

One theoretical problem with public domain software: not all jurisdictions,
as far as I vaguely understand, actually have a notion of "releasing your
work into the public domain".

A problem some authors have (and probably should have!) is that simply
saying "released into the public domain" isn't disclaiming warranty, so
the author might be inviting legal trouble onto himself.

For both of these reasons, I usually recommend that people who want to
permissively free a work use the MIT license, or the 2-clause BSD license,
which are well-established, simple licenses that allow pretty much anything.

However, I've never heard any serious claim that works released into the
public domain aren't free, and I've never heard of "revoking a work from
the public domain" (if you could do that, it was never in the public domain
to begin with).

Glenn Maynard

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