making public domain dedication safer
Mahesh T. Pai
paivakil at vsnl.net
Wed Feb 18 13:59:55 UTC 2004
Alex Rousskov said on Tue, Feb 17, 2004 at 02:26:11PM -0700,:
> The Authors place this Software is in Public Domain.
> <Creative Commons public domain dedication follows>
> If the above Public Domain dedication is deemed invalid
> under any theory of law, current or future, this Software
> can be dealt with under any OSI-approved license, including,
> without limitation, BSD and MIT licenses.
> The above is unpolished because I am not sure it makes sense from a
> legal point of view. After all, the above combination contains
> contradictory assumptions (public domain versus copyrighted/licensed
> code). Specifically,
If, by contradictory, you mean the document saying that it places work
in public domain, and then, it goes on to talk of licenses, then,
no. It is not contradictory.
The choice is given to you, as a recipient of a work, and you can
exercise the that choice if, and *only* if the `dedication' is not
valid for some reason.
I wracked my meagre brains to find some reason whya court would hold
the part coming after `If the above Public Domain ...' invalid for
some reason, and I cannot find any.
So, what is your problem?
> - Can PD+license combination be legal?
You will be contradicting yourselves. On one hand, you declare your
work to be in public domain, and then go on exercise to your rights
under the law of copyright, namely grant a license `in rem' as we
lawyers would call it.
> - Can a reference to "any OSI-approved license" be legal?
Why should it not be?? `OSI approved license' are, at any given point
of time, finite in number, definite as to identify, and accessible
usually from the web.
> - Is the above approach likely to make PD dedications safer?
Rather, it will tend to nullify your actions in dedicating to PD,
since the courts are likely to say that you contradicted yourselves,
and therefore your intent was not clear enough, and most likely, both
the dedication and license might fail.
Mahesh T. Pai, LL.M.,
'NANDINI', S. R. M. Road,
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