[cc-community] Public-domain-style licenses (was Re: Why "Wiki license" = CC-BY-SA?)

Delphine Ménard notafishz at gmail.com
Fri Jan 18 09:04:20 EST 2008

On Jan 18, 2008 2:20 PM, Evan Prodromou <evan at prodromou.name> wrote:
>  On Thu, 2008-01-17 at 20:04 -0500, Greg London wrote:
>  But I have never, ever, run into someone
> who couldn't tell the difference between
> a work whose copyright has expired, and
> a work under a "public domain style license".
>  I've often seen "public domain" conflated with "available under a Free
> license" either through ignorance ("since Linux is in the public domain, I
> can do what I want with it") or disingenuously by apologists and PR flacks
> ("we understand that the GPL requires us to do so-and-so, but we can't
> release our intellectual property into the public domain because...").

Well, is it always a PR flack ? As far as I undertand, there are
countries where the public domain is one of those catch all phrases
which really does not mean much in the end. Take France for example,
as far as I understand it, public domain is a legal state very clearly
defined by law (70 years after the death of the authors + the wars +
whatever). So theoretically, an individual could "release" thier work
in the public domain (for this, they'd have to waive their patrimonial
rights-- rights of exploitation etc.) but they'd always have their
moral rights (that they can't waive) which allows them, among other
things, to require attribution. So basically, "putting" something in
the public domain might make no real sense.

I find it an interesting thing that this "public domain" thing just
has very different meanings in different legal systems and as such, I
support Evan's comment that it might be "confusing" to use "public
domain" as an adjective, because one might simply end up
"interpreting" it completely wrong depending on where they come from.

This said, I find Greg's door metaphor interesting and enlightening,
now I gotta read the 74 pages ;-).



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