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From "Lawrence Rosen" <lro...@rosenlaw.com>
Subject RE: Public domain artifacts distributed with Apache projects
Date Thu, 25 Oct 2007 04:34:38 GMT
> We can treat it in one of two ways I think:
> 
> 1) View it as a license - add a note to notice and redistribute under
> public domain.
> 2) View it as AL 2.0 - ie) a grant made to us (and the rest of the
> world) that we then treat as our own source.
> 
> I say this all with only half a clue :)

As with most things in law, this is largely a question of risk analysis.

Honest public domain dedications by real people you know and trust are not
the same as effective licenses but they pose VERY LOW RISK that the owner
will revoke or later deny his dedication. On the other hand, without at
least a copyright notice traceable to someone you believe to be real,
perhaps you don't want to give such artifacts to your friends for business
uses. Include all the provenance information in the Notice file.

Without disclosing more, I once had a client whose product had to be
recalled (albeit temporarily) because some graphic on some screen wasn't as
"public domain" as he believed it to be. In the end, though, all he suffered
was a little egg on his face, some retooling, and a few hours of lawyer
time.

All this to say that your alternative 1 is probably fine for public domain
things you trust and that you don't modify, and 2 is fine for public domain
things you trust and that you do modify.

/Larry


> -----Original Message-----
> From: hyandell@gmail.com [mailto:hyandell@gmail.com] On Behalf Of Henri
> Yandell
> Sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2007 9:13 PM
> To: Robert Burrell Donkin
> Cc: Legal Discuss; Craig L Russell
> Subject: Re: Public domain artifacts distributed with Apache projects
> 
> On 10/24/07, Robert Burrell Donkin <rdonkin@apache.org> wrote:
> 
> > AIUI this is not the case of software donation to apache (whether
> > implied or exlicit) but of third party documents under license (please
> > jump in and correct me if i'm wrong). IMHO apache needs to handle this
> > latter class of documents in a more sophisticated way including
> > recording explicit meta-data.
> 
> Agreed on having a more sophisticated method for handling licensing,
> except, with public domain it's a case of someone saying:
> 
> "I grant all rights to the public"
> 
> There's no license. There's nothing that should appear at the top of
> the source files and no special files which exist except for some kind
> of statement of public domain - which is usually on the website it's
> hosted at. RAT should not be of any use, because it's perfectly fine
> for me to find some public domain and commit it at the ASF as my own
> code. So we need a copy of the webpage somehow.
> 
> We can treat it in one of two ways I think:
> 
> 1) View it as a license - add a note to notice and redistribute under
> public domain.
> 2) View it as AL 2.0 - ie) a grant made to us (and the rest of the
> world) that we then treat as our own source.
> 
> I say this all with only half a clue :)
> 
> Hen
> 
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