use of the kernel and licensing

Michael Ross gmx at
Sun Mar 31 14:43:39 UTC 2013

On Sun, 31 Mar 2013 16:31:43 +0200, Polytropon <freebsd at> wrote:

> 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
> stone".
> 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?

I think you are wrong here.

"Under the Berne Convention, which most countries have signed, an author  
automatically obtains the exclusive copyright to anything they have  
written, and local law may similarly grant copyright, patent, or trademark  
rights by default. The Berne Convention also covers programs. Therefore, a  
program is automatically subject to a copyright, and if it is to be placed  
in the public domain, the author must explicitly disclaim the copyright  
and other rights on it in some way."

Note the wording "explicitly disclaim".

While German law has something like a "triviality threshold" which may  
well apply to very small code snippets,
i'd say "no included license" by default means "all rights reserved".



More information about the freebsd-questions mailing list