Jon Radel jon at
Fri May 8 15:12:35 UTC 2009

Mehmet Erol Sanliturk wrote:
> On Fri, May 8, 2009 at 8:38 AM, Mike Jeays <mike.jeays at> wrote:

>> I would keep away from the term 'public domain', which means you would lose
>> any rights to it whatsoever.
> Public Domain does NOT  invalidate Copyright : The owner of the work is the
> copyright holder .
> Public Domain is a license kind which means that there is no any condition
> on the usage .  For example , BSD-style licenses generally are mentioned as
> 2-clause ( conditions ) , 3-clause ( conditions ) , etc. . Public Domain
> license means Zero-clause license .

Giving advice like this on an international list is practically an 
exercise in futility, as there's pretty much a 100% chance that what 
you're saying is completely wrong in at least one country (and, yes, 
that goes for everything I say below too :-).  However, in some places, 
"public domain" does indeed mean that there is no copyright on it.  It 
is my understanding that in some countries it is difficult, if not 
impossible, to disclaim copyright, so you can't put your own works into 
the public domain.

"Public Domain license" is conflating copyrights and licenses, which 
while they interact, are not at all the same thing.  In fairness I will 
grant that this is a common usage, despite the fact that some of us 
deplore its imprecision.

My suggestion to the OP:

1)  Make sure your employer (if any) doesn't have rules on this that you 
wish to follow,

2)  Pick a license that appeals to you,

3a)  If the software isn't important enough or valuable enough that you 
see hiring a lawyer if somebody violates your license, you're done, as 
so long as the license expresses what you'd prefer people to do, it 
really doesn't matter much whether or not you theoretically could 
enforce it,

3b)  If this is valuable software, see a lawyer *before* you publish the 
software, preferably one who understands intellectual property *and* the 
various licenses that are available for "free" software.  Do NOT depend 
on free advice from amateurs such as myself.

Frankly, unless you see this software as providing revenue, or being 
part of some grand product you're releasing in phases, your license is 
making a philosophical declaration that a fair percentage of honorable 
users will more or less honor.  The costs of bringing legal action to 
actually enforce a license are probably completely out of line with the 
value of the network utilities that you want to share.


--Jon Radel
jon at
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