making public domain dedication safer

jcowan at jcowan at
Wed Feb 18 19:23:15 UTC 2004

Alex Rousskov scripsit:

> P.S. If a US citizen can take NASA's US-PD software and license it
>      to Australians, can a US citizen can take NASA's US-PD software
>      and release it in Australian public domain?

I missed this before.  No.  The software is not PD in Australia and only
NASA could make it so -- if indeed they could.  The Australian Copyright
Act provides no such mechanism, but there may be one in the case law.

However, A derivative of a copyrighted work may itself be in the public
domain: for example, in Canada a novel remains in copyright for life+50,
but a movie made from it would become P.D. 50 years after its publication.

John Cowan  jcowan at
The known is finite, the unknown infinite; intellectually we stand
on an islet in the midst of an illimitable ocean of inexplicability.
Our business in every generation is to reclaim a little more land,
to add something to the extent and the solidity of our possessions.
        --Thomas Henry Huxley
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