OSI enforcement?

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Sat Jan 12 02:29:01 UTC 2008

Quoting Philippe Verdy (verdy_p at wanadoo.fr):

> Public domain is clearly damaged each time someone will require you
> prove it is.

Is anyone were imposing that requirement?  I haven't seen it.

> In fact, even Creative Commons without the BY condition (required
> attribution) does not work as intended and exposes authors to severe risks
> about their own work.

Are you're speaking of the CC Public Domain Dedication 
document, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/publicdomain/ ?
(My own views are at "Public Domain" on
http://linuxmafia.com/kb/Licensing_and_Law/ .)

> Daniel Bernstein is taking many risks that someone will claim
> ownership on what he Daniel did in the past, and he will have little
> defense he can't prove that he was the effective author.

Well, let's not exaggerate.  The Internet Archive is at least somewhat 
good evidence (though not for images), and a huge number of people
willing to testify to his authorship (including myself) have suddenly
lost their desire or ability to do so, your assertion seems extremely
doubtful (leaving aside the separate question of what circumstances
would oblige him to prove he was the effective author).

> The key protection is the copyright notice line stating:
> * the author name, the date of first publication, and the country of
> origin where the rights are originated and protected.

Attaching a copyright notice while attempting to dedicate a work to the 
public domain seems at best incongruous, and a bit counterproductive.

> If you need it, and require the preservation of attribution notive,
> this is no longer public domain like it was. 

Prof. Bernstein, for one, imposed no such requirement.  (See
http://cr.yp.to/qmail/dist.html, for example.)  

> The effective remainining "public domain" is the one maintained by
> OFFICIAL national libraries that are storing proofs of publication for
> long term, and remove the protection after some long time and end of
> all exclusive authors rights.

Maybe, maybe not.  Jurisdiction probably makes a great deal of
difference.  Even in the USA, at bare minimum, works produced directly
by the Federal government go immediately into the public domain.  It is
asserted by some (including Prof. Bernstein) that their dedications to
the public domain would be upheld, such that (e.g.) the donor's heirs,
creditors, etc. could not regain the abandoned title.  They may be
correct (though I personally suggest not betting on it, when saying "Do
whatever the hell you want with this codebase. Copyright (c) 2007 Joe
Owner" would accomplish the donor's goals with less judicial
uncertainty -- though foregoing warranty disclaimer).

> If you want a minimum protection, then you need: * the copyright line
> * the explicit denial of warranty I think that it is exactly what all
> open source and free licences are doing first before granting any
> other right or requiring other conditions. And I can't call it "public
> domain".

I personally concur, that that's a wiser course of action.

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