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Aristotle (5147)


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Journal of Aristotle (5147)

Thursday April 26, 2007
07:03 PM

DRH refuses to put stuff in the public domain. In Germany.

[ #33115 ]

D. Richard Hipp :

The problem with “public domain” (and this is something I did not know when I put SQLite in the public domain in 2001) is that some jurisdictions (ex: Germany) do not recognize the right of an author to dedicate a work to the public domain. I can say “this is in the public domain” all I want, but my words will not be legally binding in a German court, I’m told. The only way for me to get rid of the copyright on SQLite is to die, something I’m not planning to do in the near term.

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  • Well, he's absolutely correct. That's the difference between Copyright and "Urheberrecht," you can't get rid of the latter. But of course you can hand out unlimited usage permissions.
    Ordinary morality is for ordinary people. -- Aleister Crowley
    • Which is what he does, as he goes on to write later.

      I know about the philosophical difference between the laws – a literal translation of “Urheberrecht” would be something like “author’s right.” Contrast that with the literal meaning of the word “copyright” and you get the right idea: one is about innate rights associated with the creation of a work, the other is about rights over its replication. Obviously, you can’t sensibly declare that you are no l

  • It's not just Germany: the concept of "public domain" is really a feature of U.S. copyright law. Similar things exist in other jurisdictions, but not quite the same.
    • I know. The best option if you want to do something like that is to put things under MIT licence, which works the same way in pretty well every jurisdiction.