Public domain software is not open-source?

Arnoud Engelfriet arnoud at
Thu Mar 6 07:54:46 UTC 2008

Philippe Verdy wrote:
> And YES! he is a liar if he gives a licence without a copyright statement,
> i.e. an explicit claim of ownership of the rights covered by the licence.

He is a liar if he gives a license without having the necessary rights.
It's advisable to get an explicit statement like "I own the copyright"
in a license agreement, but no legal necessity. 

And besides we were talking about a copyright _notice_, i.e. the
oldfashioned US "Copyright $YEAR $YOURNAMEHERE" thingy. Possibly
with some Buenos Aires-flavored "All rights reserved" on top.
I really don't see the necessity for that at all. 

> The fact that he sent the email proves nothing, and certainly not that he
> owned the right on the exposed content (the text in the mail could have been
> stolen, or sent by someone else under his name without his consent).

Even a license text accompanying the software proves nothing. I can
take your software, add the text of the GPL and change all copyright
statements to include my name as owner. Who will be able to tell
the forgery?


Arnoud Engelfriet, Dutch & European patent attorney - Speaking only for myself
Patents, copyright and IPR explained for techies:
              Arnoud blogt nu ook:

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