Subject: Re: Please add "Public Domain" to "license" list
From: Gregory Pomerantz <>
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 2003 18:22:43 -0500 (EST)

> _Some_ analogies with physical property are possible:  If a ship is
> derelict at sea, someone else can successfully claim title by right of
> salvage.  The original authors are deemed to have abandoned title, but 
> the ship doesn't cease to become property.
> ...
> Does the first person to pull the film canisters out of the rubbish bin
> gain copyright?  Does he have to worry about being sued by the dustmen
> before he can safely say the film's copyright was legally abandoned?
> The film studio, when it finds out about the dumpster raid?  I don't
> know.  Neither do you.  ;->
Rick, thanks for your clarification. I don't have definite answers to those
questions, but I would find it hard to believe that a judge would allow a person
to sue another for copyright infringement based on a "found" work that he
neither created nor purchased. And I certainly don't see such a policy doing
much for "the progress of science and the useful arts" (though I think we all
know how much those words are worth :) I don't think I have anything else to say
on the subject either; as is all too common in copyright law, we seem to be
running up against that black void where case law ought to be.

By the way, I meant to send this discussion of copyright abandonment to the
list, but I don't believe it made it:

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