[OSM-legal-talk] The OSM licence: where we are, where we're going

Jordan S Hatcher jordan at opencontentlawyer.com
Mon Jan 7 21:18:58 GMT 2008

On 7 Jan 2008, at 21:05, Christopher Schmidt wrote:

> On Mon, Jan 07, 2008 at 09:35:19PM +0100, Frederik Ramm wrote:
>> PD -
>>   pros - easy to implement, legally trivial, does not require
>>     policing, compatible (on the usage side) with any other data
> Ignoring the fact that under US law, it's impossible for  
> individuals to
> place copyrighted material into the public domain? Ignoring the fact
> that many countries have no concept of 'public domain'? Using Public
> Domain data may be easy -- creating it may be hard.

I'll comment more later, as it is definitely at the end of my day.   
But I feel the need to point out that it is not "impossible" to place  
copyrighted material in the public domain in the US and that there  
are definite and relatively clear arguments that one can do this  
under US law.

I'd also like to mention that I'm not really sure how accurate it is  
to say that there are many countries with "no concept of the public  
domain", as no one has perpetual copyright and the public domain in  
this sense is "out of copyright".  Everything more or less expires at  
some point.

There are however systems that enforce *moral rights indefinitely,  
but this is distinct from the economic rights of copyright.

This is all not to say that your ultimate point that creating public  
domain data may be hard isn't true. Truly giving up all the copyright  
to a copyrightable work may be impossible in some systems. However  
the Open Data Commons Public Domain Dedication and Licence (PDDL) has  
a back up licence in place (like a BSD/MIT licence without any  
restrictions) to try to address these situations.

Estoppel would then also operate to bar people from making claims  
against end users after placing their work under the PDDL.



Mr. Jordan S Hatcher, JD, LLM

jordan at opencontentlawyer dot com
OC Blog: http://opencontentlawyer.com
IP/IT Blog: http://twitchgamer.net

Open Data Commons

Usage of Creative Commons by cultural heritage organisations

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