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Re: DEP5: Public domain works

* Charles Plessy <plessy@debian.org> [110120 15:51]:
> Here is for instance most of the content of the copyright file of the
> ncbi-tools6 package:
>   Copyright:
>   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.

Here the question is what "This software/database is freely available to
the public for use." means. If it is simply a consequence of the former,
then this lacks the permission to copy it outside the US[1]. If it is a
grant of permissive license, the question is what "public" is, but I'd
argue that it doesn't list "public in the USA", thus it would be granted
to everybody.

I'd suggest to ask a lawyer about statements like that. From what I
understand it might be possible that one day the US goverment decides
it wants to sue someone copying things like that outside the US and
might win in court.

	Bernhard R. Link

[1] Except in countries that do not protect works that are not protected
    in their home-country. (But as with the "getting public domain by
    author dead for X years" there are countries that do not care about
    the rules in the home-country, but apply their own ones).

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