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Re: logwatch: list of copyright holders

On Thu, Feb 21, 2008 at 10:00 AM, Michael Below <below@judiz.de> wrote:
> Am Do 21 Feb 2008 10:25:01 CET
>  schrieb "Giacomo A. Catenazzi" <cate@cateee.net>:
>  > IMHO the patches sent to a upstream author which
>  > doesn't patch the original copyright (adding a name or
>  > a copyright line) should be interpreted as the above case.
>  > IMHO the author implicit acknowledges that the patch is
>  > simple and doesn't include enough intellectual work.
>  > So I interpret the patch as outside copyright laws
>  I would be careful about that. Such a notice isn't required for
>  copyright protection, so it is at least difficult to interpret the
>  absence of a copyright note as a legal declaration about copyright.
>  Plus, I don't think authors can decide whether something is
>  copyrightable (legal systems may differ about this).

Agreed. Under UK law, the threshold for copyright protection is quite
low, and is an objective test without any need for the author to claim
copyright or include a copyright notice. IIRC (haven't looked it up)
an author cannot even disclaim copyright as such - though if the
author does state that material is public domain and not protected by
copyright then s/he may be "estopped" from reversing that statement
later, if people have acted in reliance on it. But the mere absence of
a copyright notice is highly unlikely to raise an estoppel against the
author asserting copyright at a later date.

So bottom line is: it cannot be assumed that a patch provided in such
circumstances is free from copyright. Indeed, I'd always work on the
assumption that (from the UK perspective) any work is covered by
copyright unless it really is de minimis (e.g. a patch correcting a
single typo in the original code, i.e. changing a [ to a { or


(This message is intended as general information and should not be
relied upon as legal advice.)

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