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Legal status of short, perhaps uncopyrightable program (fwd)

I'm working on becoming a Debian developer, and I've begun talking to a potential sponsor for a few packages in wnpp. A friend introduced me to an old USENET post with a funny C program. I want to package it in Debian.

I think it's possible that the short strings in this program are uncopyrightable since they're so short, and since there is no copyright for databases the collection as a group isn't copyrightable either. (Like fortune quotes.) But I'm not a lawyer, and I defer to the opinion of debian-legal. There are some murmurings on the Web (e.g., http://www.spatula.net/software/sex/ , http://packages.gentoo.org/ebuilds/?sex-1.0 ) from people who believe that it is BSD-licensed, but in truth I have been able to find no license.

If it is decided that the code in it must be rewritten but the strings can remain, then I am perfectly willing to have that happen.

http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.erotica/browse_thread/thread/4750b7b1c7e85e08/4275952d0d267747?lnk=st&q=%22%5C%22Let+the+games+begin!%5C%22%22,+++++++++++++%22%5C%22Sweet+Jesus!%5C%22%22,%0D%0A++%22%5C%22Not+that!%5C%22%22,++++++++++++++++++++++++%22%5C%22At+last!%5C%22%22,%0D%0A++%22%5C%22Land+o'+Goshen!%5C%22%22,++++++++++++++++++%22%5C%22Is+that+all%3F%5C%22%22,%0D%0A++%22%5C%22Cheese+it,+the+cops!%5C%22%22,+++++++++++++%22%5C%22I+never+dreamed+it+could+be%5C%22%22,%0D%0A++%22%5C%22If+I+do,+you+won't+respect+me!%5C%22%22,+++%22%5C%22Now!%5C%22%22,&rnum=10 is the original source of the program, as far as I can tell. The man who posted this appears to be "Don Dodson", based on more Googling, but

Thanks, all. I look forward to hearing your well-reasoned opinions, and I hope that they end in Debian's ability to redistribute at least the strings from this program.

-- Asheesh.

In the eyes of my dog, I'm a man.
		-- Martin Mull

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