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On 8/14/2011 7:18 AM, marbux wrote:
On Sat, Aug 13, 2011 at 12:30 PM, David Given wrote:
What is the implicit license if someone doesn't declare one then?

In theory, none --- without a license, the code cannot be redistributed
at all.
I'm happy to say that I am no longer a lawyer although I was until I
retired. Copyright infringement is a difficult topic on which to
generalize. It's not quite as iron-clad as stated. There are
exceptions. For example:

-- The fair use exception applies in most jurisdictions; however what
constitutes "fair use" isn't clear cut in most situations. I'll hazard
a guess that most courts would likely hold that it's fair use to quote
an email when replying to it. :-)

-- The E.U. has a directive exempting copying for personal use.

-- The U.S. and IIRC the E.U. as well have exemptions to copy object
code for interoperability reverse engineering purposes and a few other
limited purposes.

But it's accurate to say that in the nations party to the Berne
Convention (163 nations, IIRC), a copyright automatically vests in an
author created upon first publication. It's an opt-out approach; the
author has that right until and unless s/he opts out.

Very nice and well done, at least someone is talking about these things. Without the exemptions, everyone is a walking serial violator, or everything will grind to a halt. I quite pity a civilization that relinquishes these things to a legal climate that is mindlessly applying "extreme legal opinions that doesn't give an atom any wriggle room" that it seems to have become the norm.

In practice,

The real problem is that the applicable law is way too far removed
from practice, practicality, and expectations, leaving almost everyone
who uses a computer at the mercy of those with an incentive to file

I would add that the ways of large corporations (and other organizations that behave badly) are not exemplary role models for human beings to follow, as their legal arms often seek overbearing legal power or control, like swatting a fly with a nuclear bomb. If say EEs want to stick to the exact letter of a tyrannical intellectual property regime, then we might as well close shop now.

People have compared some large corporations with their "individual rights" to psychotic individuals -- too much power and nobody pushing back against extreme behaviour. Or, money + henchmen = tyranny or worse. Few want to go up against them and so the pushback is weak.

Um... this advice is redistributable under the terms of the CC0 Creative
Commons License (all rights possible waived).

CC0 is great. Also endorsed by the FSF for those who want to put works
in the public domain.

I still see GNU project devs saying that they are 'committing as obvious' or not needing paperwork on file for short code changes (tending to the obvious). So perhaps they are foolish, and I too will stick with these foolish people.

I'd much rather work with CC0 snippets or with snippets  under a
license that requires only the URL for the license. Far less bother to
include a comment pointing to the license or copyright waiver than to
include the license.

P.S. To be clear, I do not mean to be arguing with those who disagree, let us be free to adopt a diversity of positions or opinions on these things.

Thanks to the legal practitioners these days, common sense and sane behaviour seems to have become a distant memory for some of us who have once, in the past, been embraced by a more enlightened climate.

Kein-Hong Man (esq.)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia