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

rob at robmyers.org rob at robmyers.org
Tue Jan 8 17:03:54 GMT 2008

Quoting Frederik Ramm <frederik at remote.org>:

> It's just not logical. Removing freedom would mean traveling back in
> time and stopping anything being published under PD.

You are concentrating on the legal status of a work in abstract. I am  
concentrating on the practical ability of individuals to use of any  
given instance of the work or its derivatives.

Alice in Wonderland is in the public domain. But this doesn't prevent  
Adobe creating an eBook version that disallows copying and pasting  
from it. That isn't law, it's code. One can argue that we can just  
grab an unrestricted version of Alice from gutenberg.org. But at some  
point we will be in a situation where we only have the eBook version,  
and at that point the public domain status of the original work will  
not be particularly useful to us.

I am giving practical examples of how unaltered PD work can be  
restricted. Such works don't exist in abstract, they have to exist  
somewhere and those locations can be restricted technically (and to a  
lesser extent legally) even if the work cannot be restricted legally  
in abstract.

- Rob.

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