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From Jeffrey Thompson <jt...@us.ibm.com>
Subject Re: Dual licensing of code
Date Tue, 26 Jul 2005 13:27:05 GMT
Simon Kitching <skitching@apache.org> wrote on 07/26/2005 07:50:13 AM:

> Hi All,
> In the last couple of months I wrote two classes to assist in
> unit-testing of jakarta commons logging. These classes have been
> committed to the commons-logging subversion with an Apache copyright
> and the standard APL 2.0 attached.
> I am now looking at writing an article about unit testing and would like
> to be able to provide these classes as code in the public domain, just
> to make it as easy as possible for readers of the article to reuse that
> code.
> Is there any issue with doing this? What is the exact procedure I should
> follow? Should I add something like
>   "This code is also in the public domain."
> following the Apache license header or somesuch? I presume I can't just
> delete the apache license header and replace it with such a declaration
> - and I don't really want to; I just want readers of the article to be
> able to reuse these two simple classes without any constraints at all,
> including the requirement to acknowledge Apache code is present.

As mentioned elsewhere, public domain isn't a license, it is the state of 
a work of authorship after which all copyright rights have been 
extinguished.  That is, once something has been placed in the public 
domain, there is nothing left to license.  Placing something in the public 
domain and distributing it under the Apache license are mutually 
> Note that the classes are 100% my own work as can be seen from the
> subversion history. The actual classes in question are
>   PathableTestSuite.java
>   PathableClassLoader.java
> which can be seen here:
> http://svn.apache.
> or here:
> http://svn.apache.org/viewcvs.

It's normally recommended that an author keep copies of anything he 
contributes, so that he won't have to pull a copy from Apache's SVN. There 
is a question of proof if you try to dedicate something out of Apache's 
SVN to the public domain.  Can you really PROVE that no other material has 
been added to that code by someone else?  Logs are useful, but are they 

Putting aside that question, you certainly can dedicate your code to the 
public domain.  You own it and I don't see anything in the CLA or the 
Apache license that would prevent it.  The effect on Apache will be 
interesting.  The rights that they are licensing to their customers 
disappear, at least for those lines of code.  It probably won't have any 
practical effect though because the remainder of the project is 

The problems usually voiced about dedicating code to the public domain is 
that the process which satisfies one jursidiction might not satisfy 
others.  In most jurisdictions the process is not well defined, so you 
would need to consult local experts in all relevant jurisdictions to make 
sure that you've followed all of the required steps.  Most people when 
they think hard about it decide to just license the code under a very 
permissive license (such as modified-MIT).
> Thanks,
> Simon
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Staff Counsel, IBM Corporation  (914)766-1757  (tie)8-826  (fax) -8160
(notes) jthom@ibmus  (internet) jthom@us.ibm.com (home) jeff@beff.net
(web) http://www.beff.net/ 

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