[License-discuss] MakeHuman, CC0 and AGPL

Lindsay Patten blindsaypatten at gmail.com
Wed Oct 25 16:12:22 UTC 2017

Thank you for your quick response!

Can you clarify whether you can you put a copy of a work in the public 
domain while maintaining a license on another copy?  Or is it the work 
itself that is placed in the public domain, and any ability to enforce 
copyright on any copies has been surrendered? My understanding was that 
works are placed in the public domain while copies are licensed, and 
that placing a work in the public domain renounces any copyright claim 
you might have on any copies regardless of what license they may have 
been previously released under.  You seem to be saying that a particular 
copy of a work can be placed in the public domain while other copies 
remain under copyright restrictions?

With regard to bundled exports, it would help me to look at a concrete 
case.  Say we have an export from MakeHuman that consists of three files

1) A 3D mesh that was created starting with a 3D mesh that comes with 
MakeHuman and transformed by the user using MakeHuman.

2) A meta-data file containing information about the character and its 
appearance created by the user using MakeHuman

3) A texture in the form of an image file from the MakeHuman collection 
of texture images.

Let's say the user chooses to take the CC0 option.  What is the 
copyright status of the three files?  Are all three files now in the 
public domain?  Can the user, or a third party use the individual files 
without being restricted by the AGPL license that would apply if the CC0 
option hadn't been taken?  Or is it only the particular combination of 
the three that is in the public domain while the individual files are 
still under copyright?  If it is only the combination that is in the 
public domain, does it revert to AGPL if you make any modifications?

Thanks again.

On 2017-10-25 11:04 AM, John Cowan wrote:
> On Wed, Oct 25, 2017 at 9:30 AM, Lindsay Patten 
> <blindsaypatten at gmail.com <mailto:blindsaypatten at gmail.com>> wrote:.
>     My understanding of CC0 is that it is a declaration that you have
>     placed the work in the public domain, with a fallback license in
>     case the law in a particular jurisdiction doesn't permit that.  If
>     the user takes the CC0 option, what is the status of the
>     individual assets that are bundled into the export?  Are they in
>     the public domain or still copyrighted by the MakeHuman authors?
> Those particular copies are effectively in the public domain, provided 
> that the MakeHuman folks actually hold copyright.  Third party 
> copyrights are of course unaffected.
>     What I find confusing is whether CC0 is a license that can be
>     applied to a particular copy of a work,
> Every license is applicable only to particular copies. The self-same 
> bunch of bits may have a commercial license for one copy that permits 
> certain acts and forbids others, and a GPL license on another copy 
> which has completely different conditions from the commercial 
> license.  As long as the licensor is the owner, that's just fine. 
> SImilarly, bits inside an executable that have been compiled from a 
> BSD source are (at least arguably) under the GPL if other bits in the 
> same executable come from GPLed source.
> -- 
> John Cowan http://vrici.lojban.org/~cowan 
> <http://vrici.lojban.org/%7Ecowan> cowan at ccil.org <mailto:cowan at ccil.org>
> The whole of Gaul is quartered into three halves.
>         --Julius Caesar
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