Re: Misunderstanding of PD and copyrights

From: Joseph Lorenzo Hall <jhall_at_sims_dot_berkeley_dot_edu>
Date: Thu May 13 2004 - 19:13:23 CDT

> > Material that is in the public domain cannot be removed from the
> > public domain by copyright claim (with the unfortunate exception
> > of the Sony Bono Copyright Extension Act that retroactively
> > extended copyright to works that had lapsed into PD with age; the
> > SCOTUS did wrong in Eldred).
> I know that.

There is also another example of this with the Paraguay rounds... this
is the subject of another case, Golan v. Ashcroft:

> > A work that is Free might serve as the basis for a derived work
> > that is unfree. But that fact is not a bug with BSD-ish licenses
> > and PD, its a design principle.
> Please do not confuse the terminology. Free Software means GPL
> licensed software, which may not be made the basis of proprietary
> software. BSD licenses are not Free Licenses.

This is incorrect.

The modified BSD license is a GPL-compatible, free software license.
The original BSD license is a GPL-uncompatible, free software license.

More here:

> I have no objection to UC Berkeley creating the BSD license and
> publishing software under it. I don't think that that approach is
> appropriate for our software. And I still don't think that our
> conversations on this list should be PD. I reserve copyright on my
> own contributions, if you won't.

The main difference here is whether or not derivative works should be
under the same license as the original (this is GPL). If all we care
about is people being able to test software and we don't really care
about people taking released software and building closed software,
BSD is a good choice. However, I believe, if we want to attract many
coders and ensure that patches and modifications *must* be distributed
under the same terms as the original, GPL is the way to go.

> > DMCA violations, patent issues, and other alleged grounds. In a
> > lot of cases, the poor volunteers cave in rather than go to court,
> > no matter how right they are on the law.
> Especially if they are unaware that the EFF and ACLU may be ready
> to help.

As well, you can develop the software as official GNU software and
have the limited protection of the FSF's enforcement. However, you'd
have to have *the* GPL instead of a modified version... we can talk to
them about accepting on assignment a GPL-licensed project with an
exception... but any additional terms will preclude using *any* GPL'd
software with this software as the license would be GPL-incompatible.


Joseph Lorenzo Hall, SIMS PhD Student; UC Berkeley.
[web:<>, blog:<>]

"But a voter on this voting machine has no knowledge through his
senses that he has accomplished a result."
--Justice Rogers (19 R.I. 1729 (1897)).

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Received on Mon May 31 23:17:41 2004

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