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Re: "License": public-domain

On 13 September 2017 at 17:46, Don Armstrong <don@debian.org> wrote:
> On Wed, 13 Sep 2017, Nico Schlömer wrote:
>> I sometimes see in d/copyright
>> > Copyright: John Doe
>> > License: public-domain
>> e.g., [1]. However, these two statements contradict each other: public
>> domain means exactly the _absence_ of copyright [2].
> The Copyright: field in this case is usually indicating who holds any
> residual copyright or author's rights in a jurisdiction which does not
> completely support public domain (PD). It also indicates who the
> individual was who dedicated the work to the PD.
>> Specifically, public domain is _not_ open source [3].
> PD works are not necessarily open source in all jurisdictions, but they
> can satisfy the DFSG in many.
>> Since Debian is usually quite careful when it comes to legal issues,
>> I'm wondering what the official view point is here.
> The official viewpoint is that the software must meet the requirements
> of the DFSG. Generally, a CC0-style PD dedication is viewed as
> sufficient for all jurisdictions, and can satisfy the DFSG if source is
> available.
> Finally, I'm unaware of a case where a jurisdiction has upheld a
> copyright claim to a work which has been dedicated to the public domain
> everywhere. This is a potential theoretical source of problems, but
> there's enough actual problems with copyright and licensing for us to
> concentrate our limited time on them instead.
>> Should there be a lintian error if the "license" is public domain and
>> a copyright holder is specified?
> No.
>> Should "public-domain" perhaps be prohibited in general?
> Definitely not.

Thanks Don, this information is valuable.

if this question is common enough, perhaps it worth creating a simple
wiki page to put all this information in there?
Name suggestion: FAQ about Public Domain and Debian.

We could even reuse Nico's concerns as entries for the FAQ.

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