Copyright and jurisdictions (was: GPL License with clause for Web use?)

simo simo.sorce at
Wed Nov 21 22:48:36 UTC 2007

On Thu, 2007-11-22 at 09:03 +1100, Ben Finney wrote:
> On 21-Nov-2007, simo wrote:
> > Remember that only the author can ever sue someone
> Perhaps you've missed some of the more nasty developments in copyright 
> around the world in recent years.
> In several jurisdictions (e.g. the USA and many countries that it has 
> negotiated with for "compatible laws"), copyright infringement is now 
> a criminal offense: anyone can request that the state prosecute. The 
> copyright holder never needs to be involved in the case.

Can you point me at proof of this claim?

> > so to get a "Public Domain" at all effects you just need to release 
> > code without any authorship but with explicit consent to use for any 
> > purpose, and keep record privately of the fact you own that code.
> In jurisdictions that don't have such a concept of Public Domain (e.g. 
> the UK, I believe), works cannot be released from copyright before 
> they expire.

That's why I said "get a "Public Domain" at all effects" and not "put
into Public Domain".
Italy, France, Germany, and pretty much all of Europe share the same
roots for copyright law, more or less, and neither allow for real Public
Domain in the US sense at least.

> Releasing a work "without any authorship" in such a jurisdiction 
> merely means that the copyright holder still exists but isn't 
> identified on the work, leaving the recipients with a task of tracking 
> them down that may be nigh-impossible; which they may need to do if 
> the license terms are poorly written.

That's why I added that you actually need a very liberal license. The
idea not to release authorship publicly is to avoid getting bothered.
But proof is needed to be able to get down wannabe fake owners.

> These are not academic issues; they happen with depressing frequency.


> > You must live in a different world then the real world ... for a 
> > license, it does not matter what the laws *should* say, it matters 
> > what the *current* legal environment is, and what are the *current* 
> > threats.
> Indeed. Perhaps you'll bear that in mind when exhorting people on the 
> ease of avoiding copyright hassles around the world.

I never exhorted anyone to use Public Domain, I wouldn't, I like
I just suggested how to get something as similar as possible to Public
Domain with copyright laws that do not permit to drop copyright if
that's what you aim to. Of course IANAL and mine was not intended to be
legal advice, but who would consider something like that as legal advice


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