Subject: Re: Please add "Public Domain" to "license" list
From: Greg Pomerantz <gmp@alumni.brown.edu>
Date: Sun, 16 Mar 2003 18:08:01 -0500

> This is not _nearly_ strong enough.  It would be more fair to state that
> there are serious doubts whether it's possible to simply declare
> something to be in the public domain, and that such a declaration may
> have either no legal effect, or an effect different from what you
> intend.  Further, that effect may differ by jurisdiction.

Rick, I think in the U.S. there is no doubt that it is possible for
an author to dedicate a work to the public domain. Abandonment is a
recognized defense against copyright infringement, and is ordinarily
thought to occur when the author (i) intends to surrender rights to the
work, and (ii) performs some overt act evidencing such intent (Nimmer
on Copyright, 13.06). If an author published a work for free to the
entire world with an express notice of her intent to dedicate the work
to the public domain, I can't imagine any judge would fail to find
abandonment (and I'm not aware of any case to the contrary). It is also
generally held that abandonment of a work can occur if "the copyright
owner authorized or acquiesced in the wide circulation of the copies
without notice" (Stuff v. E.C. Publications, 342 f.2d 143) (this case is
relevant to the example you gave).

Greg (tinla)

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