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Re: Copyright in public domain package

Michael Hanke <michael.hanke@gmail.com> wrote:
> [ Please keep me CC'ed, I'm not subscribed. ]
> On Thu, Sep 07, 2006 at 11:35:54AM +0100, MJ Ray wrote:
> > Sorry, I think it's ambiguous. The UK Patent Office (www.patent.gov.uk,
> > who also handle much to do with copyright, sadly) sometimes uses 'in the
> > public domain' to mean that something has been published or offered for
> > sale to the public. [...]

> I'm not sure whether I understood completely what you said. I thought the
> term 'public domain' states that the authors disclaim ANY copyright of
> there work. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

As far as I can tell, you are wrong.  According to a UKPO publication:

"in the public domain, i.e. on which copyright has expired"
-- http://www.intellectual-property.gov.uk/faq/how_protect/knowshow.htm

"into the public domain, e.g. by publishing or selling goods"
-- http://www.intellectual-property.gov.uk/faq/question4.htm

> I also do not understand what you mean by 'do that in Oxford'.

I mean that I know of no way for an Oxford-based author/team to wave
their hands and say that something is in the public domain.

> [...] So effectively fsliolib upstream disclaims the
> copyright of their own work. If there is a better way to state this
> fact, I would be happy to forward this information to upstream.

If they wish to disclaim the copyright, probably that should be stated
explicitly.  Please ask them to contact www.oss-watch.ac.uk - they have
access to experts at the University of Oxford.  Please use them.

> > Please ask them to use a MIT/X11-like licence or similar liberal terms.
> > If they need specific help, I think oss-watch.ac.uk is still based in
> > Oxford.
> AFAIK upstream explicitely want this to be without any copyright.

Then they need to reform our copyright law - which sucks - or first
publish an edition in some other jurisdiction which allows immediate
PD (are there any?) or find some way of making an explicit statement,
rather than relying on implications of saying it's PD.

As noted elsewhere, I think it's OK for debian main if there's a clear
understanding that it's under PD-like terms, but it isn't PD.

By the way, I have history here: I once published from ac.uk under an
embarrassing 'this is PD' statement and it came back to haunt me.

Hope that helps,
My Opinion Only: see http://people.debian.org/~mjr/
Please follow http://www.uk.debian.org/MailingLists/#codeofconduct

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