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Re: public domain?



On Mon, 7 Aug 2006 09:00:04 +0200 (CEST) Miriam Ruiz wrote:

> Hi,

Hi!

> 
> How can I handle something like this?

With much care, I would say...  :p

> 
> > > I just wanted to know under which license is it released,
> > > because I cannot find any doc on that.
> > Pang 1.20 has no licence. It's totally free to use, and the
> > source code are available to anyone who want to begin coding
> > a game for example.
> 
> May I understand that as the code being in the public domain?

I would be very careful.
Upstream seem to be a bit confused about copyright laws.

Until copyright expires[1], a work of authorship is automatically
copyrighted, at least in any country that adheres to the Berne
Convention.
When there is no license for a work, the law defaults to "All rights
reserved", which means that all the exclusive rights are reserved for
the copyright holder(s).
In other words, nobody (except the copyright holders) has any permission
to copy, distribute, and/or modify the work.

[1] currently, apart from some exceptions, copyright expires 70 years
after the death of the last co-author or 95 years after publication
(when the copyright holder is not a physical person): not our case,
right?  ;-)


Hence, "no license" actually implies that the work is *undistributable*!

If upstream want the work to be in the public domain (that is to say,
not copyrighted), they have to explicitly disclaim copyright interest in
the work and dedicate it to the public domain.
Debian usually accepts this kind of statement of will from upstream
authors, but please note that some people have doubts about the legal
possibility to dedicate a work to the public domain under the Berne
Convention (that is to say, it's not even clear whether it's at all
possible to release something to the public domain!).


If you want to be safe, persuade upstream to release Pang under a
permissive non-copyleft DFSG-free license (such as the Expat license
<http://www.jclark.com/xml/copying.txt>): the result is very close to
public domain, but much more clear and certain.


The usual disclaimers: IANAL, IANADD.

> 
> Greetings and thanks,
> Miry

You are welcome!

> 
> (Please, CC me, as I'm not in the list)

Done.


-- 
But it is also tradition that times *must* and always
do change, my friend.   -- from _Coming to America_
..................................................... Francesco Poli .
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