Copyright and License

Andrew Dalke dalke at
Mon May 8 21:38:28 CEST 2000

Cliff Crawford wrote:
>I've actually heard the opposite said by people defending the GPL.
>Supposedly if you release something as PD, or even with a BSD or other
>license, then a Big Corporation can take your code, assert copyright on
>it without even making any modifications or anything, and then sue you
>for distributing "their" code.  So that's why everyone should use the
>GPL.  At least, that's how their argument goes..

Documents produced and released by the US government are required to
be released in the public domain.  (There are documents which aren't
released.)  If the above were true, there are enough anti-government
people that one of them would pick up public domain documents from
the government, assert copyright, and force the government to stop
distribution - just for fun.

Since that hasn't/won't happen, the claim is unlikely.

Another way to handwavingly disprove it.  When the copyright expires,
a document enters the public domain.  If that claim were true,
documents would enter the public domain for a fraction of a second,
then a company would reclaim it.  Want to claim copyright on the King
James Bible?

                    dalke at

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