[Openstreetmap] public domain in USA

Frank Mohr f_mohr at yahoo.de
Tue Dec 13 20:17:14 GMT 2005

Rev Simon Rumble wrote:
> On 13/12/2005, "Immanuel Scholz" <immanuel.scholz at gmx.de> wrote:
> Ditto


>>So the interesting question is: Is the "public domain" license of the US
>>government valid in germany? AFAIK there is no case for this decided by
>>any german court.
> Thing is, public domain isn't a license but a state.  It means there is
> no legal restriction on use.  The Berne Convention says that it does nor
> provide protection to any work in the public domain.

this state has no counterpart in german/austrian law
(i'm not sure about switzerland, URG §16.1 might be read different)

"Urheberrecht" defines 2 different facts
- authors rights
- distribution rights

the only way to give away the "authors rights" is
- the work was created with a initial contract, that gives
  the right to the other party
  (eg. the right for software i write in my job belongs
  to my employer)
- the author dies and the rights are handed down
- authors right expires like copyright 70 years after the author dies

distribution right can be sold or just given away

in my opinion (INAL, just to repeat this),
the US government has also given unlimited distribution rights
when it has given those works to public domain

if you see this as a contract, the german BGB §157 applies, that says
"Verträge sind so auszulegen, wie Treu und Glauben mit Rücksicht auf die
Verkehrssitte es erfordern."
"contracts have to be interpreted with the principle of utmost good
faith with respect to common usage"
that lawyer from ifross told me in june, that this also applies
to licences.



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