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Re: DEP5: Public domain works

Le Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 12:47:20PM +0100, Bernhard R. Link a écrit :
> 3) public domain in some domains only. For example works made by US
>    goverment employees. Those are public domain in the US, but you will
>    need a license elsewhere.

> Note that 4) is the only public domain that is in my eyes enough for
> Debian to treat it like an free license. So if that is not applicable,
> then having a keyword "public domain" does not make much sense.

I think that we need a way to express the fact that a work has been placed in
the public domain in a country and has no license otherwise. At least for U.S.
works, such software has been already accepted in Debian:

Here is for instance most of the content of the copyright file of the
ncbi-tools6 package:

  The NCBI toolkit has been put into the public domain, completely unfettered:
                            PUBLIC DOMAIN NOTICE
               National Center for Biotechnology Information
  This software/database is a "United States Government Work" under the
  terms of the United States Copyright Act.  It was written as part of
  the author's official duties as a United States Government employee and
  thus cannot be copyrighted.  This software/database is freely available
  to the public for use. The National Library of Medicine and the U.S.
  Government have not placed any restriction on its use or reproduction.
  Although all reasonable efforts have been taken to ensure the accuracy
  and reliability of the software and data, the NLM and the U.S.
  Government do not and cannot warrant the performance or results that
  may be obtained by using this software or data. The NLM and the U.S.
  Government disclaim all warranties, express or implied, including
  warranties of performance, merchantability or fitness for any particular
  Please cite the author in any work or product based on this material.


I do not see much other ways than a ‘public-domain’ keyword to describe this in
a machine-readable way. It is in the public domain of a large country, and to
the best of my knowledge, nobody claims ownership on it in other countries, so
it effectively has no licence nor known copyright holders anywhere in the

Have a nice day,

Charles Plessy
Debian Med packaging team,
Tsurumi, Kanagawa, Japan

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