does Copyright on source files expire ?
das at FreeBSD.ORG
Wed Mar 25 03:01:14 PDT 2009
On Wed, Mar 25, 2009, Luigi Rizzo wrote:
> On Wed, Mar 25, 2009 at 05:31:52AM -0400, David Schultz wrote:
> > On Wed, Mar 25, 2009, Luigi Rizzo wrote:
> > > Someone just asked me permission to move to a 3-clause BSD
> > > copyright some piece of software that I haven't touched in 10+ years.
> > >
> > > I said yes, but then I was wondering what happens if the
> > > person listed is not responding or not reachable anymore:
> > > does copyright on source code expire, and if so, when ?
> > > (I suppose it is related to either the date listed on the copyright,
> > > or to the date of some remarkable event for the author).
> > In the US, the rule that applies most of the time is that
> > Copyright expires 70 years after the author dies, although there
> > are many special cases where the term differs.
> > A person's Copyright doesn't go away just because they die,
> > disappear, or fail to respond. If you can't contact them, their
> > heirs, or whomever they transferred the Copyright to, you're stuck.
> so it's worse than a patent :)
In that sense, yes. But at least with Copyright you have the
option of rewriting the code from scratch.
In the U.S., there have been various attempts to improve the laws
regarding orphaned works, but most of the good ideas run afoul of
international Copyright treaties.
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