Public Domain (fwd)

Josef Dalcolmo dalcolmo at
Fri May 4 15:15:38 UTC 2001

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Date: Fri, 4 May 2001 15:02:00 +0200
From: Werner Koch <wk at>
To: Josef Dalcolmo <dalcolmo at>
Subject: Re: Public Domain
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[didn't you want to send this to the list? - feel free to post my
answer if you like]

On Fri, 4 May 2001, Josef Dalcolmo wrote:

> the use of (C). Some people thought that a C in parenthesis means nothing, 
> only the c in the circle, e.g. the special character has any legal meaning. I 
> do not know however, if this is still the case and if it is really just an 
> issue in the USA.

The only thing I know is that the current GNU coding standards say
that you should write:

> In the USA, copyright is automatic, meaning anything I write is copyrighted to 
> me, even without copyright notice. From the mails here I gather this is the 
> same in England. Does this also apply to other European countries?

At least for Germany. The legislation within Europe is quite
similar, so it should be true for most countries.  However there is
no copyright register in Germany and writeing a notice like above is
not needed (afaik, it is not even needed in the U.S. but if it is
there it will be easier enforce the copyright)

> > , to the extent permitted by law; without even the
> >  *)
> Is this necessary? I suppose since law always supersedes any copyright 
> statement, this is really redundant. If I just say "without any warranty", 

Not in Germany, but it seems to be neded in the U.S. where about
every device has some kind of no-warrnaty notice.  Reminds me on the
movie The Furtune Cookie, where Walter Matthau said "Okay, we
sue United Fruit" after a client told him that he has slipped on a
banana peel.

> In any case, I think the "to the extent permitted by law" is definitely 
> redundant, since no text except law can override law.

Lawyers say it is needed, so we do it.  Even that it is not valid or
needed in Germany it does not do any harm.


- -- 
Werner Koch        Omnis enim res, quae dando non deficit, dum habetur
g10 Code GmbH      et non datur, nondum habetur, quomodo habenda est.
Privacy Solutions                                        -- Augustinus

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