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Re: source code written by monkey

Ben Finney wrote:
> Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Even if the claim
> of "my monkey wrote it" were true, there is no argument given to
> conclude any particular legal status; merely an assertion that "no
> copyright" should apply.

That's true. I am not at all convinced his monkey did write the code,
by the way. What I was getting at was this:

> > While these claims seem somewhat far-fetched, the end result is
> > still that the author has asserted the work is public domain.
> The assertion of one person's opinion, without backing by reference to
> law that supports that opinion, is not sufficient grounds to believe
> that is how the law actually operates.

I would propose that we regard this person as author. No one else has
identified himself as author, and this person is the origin of the
code. We ignore his theories but focus on the bottom line: he asserts
the code is public domain.

> Further, as has been pointed out before, the author distributes from
> Germany, where "public domain" (AFAICT) does not exist. Whatever the
> provenance or legal status of the work, there's no reason to assume
> "if written by monkey, then public domain" even has any meaning in
> Germany.

True, in most Berne countries you can't give up your copyrights
or at least your moral rights on the work. I am not convinced that
this only applies to German nationals however. Even a US citizen
can assert his moral rights on a textual work in Germany. Berne
guarantees independence of copyrights in each Berne convention member.

So if Debian were to adopt the rule "public domain doesn't exist in
Germany", I think the projects needs a non-de distribution next to
the non-us one.


IT lawyer, blogger and patent attorney ~ Partner at ICTRecht.nl legal services
        http://www.arnoud.engelfriet.net/ ~ http://www.iusmentis.com/

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