Question Regarding Copyright Issue For An Open Source Project

John Cowan cowan at
Fri Jul 31 17:36:59 UTC 2009

Jeffrey O'Neill scripsit:

> The year in the copyright line indicates the year the work was created,
> and this puts the public on notice of the start of the copyright term.
> If you first create your code in 2000, then you start with that year.
> If in 2001, you modify your code, then you've created a new copyrighted
> work.  Because of this, I use a range of years to indicate the first
> creation year and the most recent modification year, e.g., 2000-2006.

This is technically correct.  In practice, however, there is no point in
updating such dates in the case of personal copyrights, as the expiration
date is the same in any case.  Even in a work owned by a corporation, by
the time most of a work goes into the public domain in 2090, almost nobody
is likely to care about the bits that remain in copyright until 2096.

I'd say just use the original creation date and don't bother with
updating it.

IANAL; TINLA, but it is not UPL either.

John Cowan                                   cowan at
        "You need a change: try Canada"  "You need a change: try China"
                --fortune cookies opened by a couple that I know

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