Public domain software is not open-source?

Philippe Verdy verdy_p at
Thu Mar 6 09:24:25 UTC 2008

> De : Matthew Flaschen [mailto:matthew.flaschen at] 
> Philippe Verdy wrote:
> > But I also think that the absence of such explicit 
> statement is also a 
> > lie, by omission,
> Again, the absence of a copyright notice is not usually a lie 
> by omission.  It would only be a lie if someone claimed to 
> license something they didn't own.  You are invented rules 
> where there are none.

I do think this is a rule. It is not written within many OSS licences
because this statement cannot be part of it, as the licence is most often

It is written explicitly in commercial licences that embed this statement of
ownership in their text (the licence text is made specific to the product,
at least in the initial paragraphs, but quite often too within the section
explicitating the licence coverage).

The separate explicit statement is required in free software (I mean GPL or

Most other OSS software include this statement. The rare cases where some
software come with some OSS licence without explicit statement of ownership
(I am not restricted to the usual form of "copyirhgt notice") have been for
really rogue softwares that prove later to abuse others rights (i.e. their
licence prove to be invalid, or the use of the licenced software was made
illegal later or the users had to pay some other fees to someone else,
because of patents or trials).

I can't trust any software that does not explose the ownership of rights
explicitly, it's too dangerous because I won't know who to prosecute in case
of problems and I will become personnaly liable for things I did not
intended to abuse myself. It's not the licence that will protect me.

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