use of the kernel and licensing

Polytropon freebsd at
Sun Mar 31 14:31:45 UTC 2013

On Sun, 31 Mar 2013 09:39:29 -0400, Joe wrote:
> Does one have to file legal paper work with the government to be issued 
> a copyright on software?

With _which_ government? :-)

Basic understanding of copyright is: The stuff _you_ write
happens "automatically" under _your_ copyright, because you
are the creator. There is nothing you need to do to achieve
the copyright - it's yours by acting. At the moment you
write something like "(C) Joe Sixpack 2012" it's "set in

There might be other ways to prove (!) copyright, e. g. when
one of your files appears in someone else's work, but now
with the originator line saying "(C) Nick Nosewhite 2013".
In case of a court trial which involves copyright, you can
prove from your CVS "log of creation" (or whatever source
management system or even file system you use) that _you_
have been writing that code, nobody else.

> Does any software not having a copyright statement or any license 
> comments included in the source mean that it's public domain?

I would assume this. Imagine a snippet of code with no author
mentioned in it (or in the source it comes from, or any file
it is accompanied by), how would you be able to conclude
something _else_ than this is public domain with _no_
copyright holder?

Note that copyright and license are two different things.
A skilled lawyer will be able to explain it more precisely
and show you how it applies for the jurisdiction you're
living in.

Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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