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

Alex Hudson home at
Wed Nov 21 23:01:32 UTC 2007

On Thu, 2007-11-22 at 09:03 +1100, Ben Finney wrote:
> 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 former doesn't imply the latter; I don't know where you have that
from. The state isn't some kind of copyright bat-phone.

Even for the DMCA, you have to be doing something on a seriously
commercial scale for it to qualify for criminal prosecution. Those laws
have several flaws, but the criminalisation isn't really an issue.

> 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.

"Public domain" means works outside of copyright, and obviously the UK
has such a concept.

The main issue with "public domain" is that in standard English, that
non-IT people speak, it simply means "available to be public" and has no
copyright connotation. 

While you cannot renounce copyright in the UK (afaik), without moral
rights protection for software you can effectively neuter it by
renouncing your rights. For all intents and purposes, it exists.

I will agree with you that releasing the work without authorship isn't a
great idea, but it's not necessarily a show-stopping issue. If the
copyright isn't renounced properly, it's a problem, sure.



More information about the Discussion mailing list