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Re: source code written by monkey

Arnoud Engelfriet <arnoud@engelfriet.net> writes:

> 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.

The "extraordinary claim" I referred to was his legal theory, for
which he provides no evidence or reference (that I've seen).

The "my monkey wrote it" claim is a *separate* extraordinary claim,
the truth of which doesn't impact on the extraordinary claim made in
the legal theory.

> True, in most Berne countries you can't give up your copyrights
> or at least your moral rights on the work.

I'm not claiming that; I am pointing out the lack of a concept of
"public domain" in such countries.

> I am not convinced that this only applies to German nationals
> however.

I wasn't making such a claim. The code is distributed from Germany,
which is the only reason I mention Germany. No claims of exclusivity
were intended.

> > > 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.

Why? This person has *explicitly*, multiple times, insisted they are
*not* the author. If we don't believe them when they make that claim,
why should we conclude that *they* are the author rather than another

> 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.

I've not seen any reference from the author that would lead us to
believe the code is public domain, except their dubious "if written by
monkey, then no copyright" theory.

There are existing ways to effectively grant public domain license
that are more likely to be robust; e.g. the Creative Commons public
domain declarations. Is there one for Germany?

Regardless, inventing legal theories in the absence of clear,
supported legal reasoning is *not* a robust way to license code to
others. I would think the Debian project should regard such practice
as legally null, giving no progress on the copyright status of the

 \         “If you can do no good, at least do no harm.” —_Slapstick_, |
  `\                                                     Kurt Vonnegut |
_o__)                                                                  |
Ben Finney

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