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Re: NaCl support for Emacs

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: Re: NaCl support for Emacs
Date: Thu, 12 Jan 2012 01:04:19 +0900

Stefan Monnier writes:
 > > It's public domain.  Is that a problem?
 > IIUC that depends on how he made it "public domain".  More specifically,
 > IIRC, it is impossible to really place in the public domain something
 > you created recently (i.e. you can't relinquish your copyright rights so
 > easily).

AFAIK Richard has stated explicitly that public domain software may be
incorporated in Emacs, but the legal staff recommends (and he agrees)
that the author needs to file a statement of dedication or something
like that with the FSF.  I don't recall him saying you need to be
careful about how old the software is.

Larry Rosen told me that a public statement of dedication (including
as a permission notice in the source) should be sufficient, up to the
question of proving in court if the author removed the evidence (such
as the tarballs on his site).

So, yes, some lawyers do say that in the U.S. there is no explicit
basis in legislation or case law for public domain dedications, and
therefore the only reliable way for a work to enter the public domain
is via lapse of copyright (which thanks to Disney and Sonny Bono's
widow won't happen again in our lifetimes, but it's the principle of
the thing, you know!)  But most lawyers (of the dozen or so I've
talked to on a "not legal advice" basis, usually with wine in hand :-)
seem to think that an appropriately written dedication should be

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