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Re: feedmail.el in the public domain?

From: Paul Eggert
Subject: Re: feedmail.el in the public domain?
Date: Sun, 16 Sep 2018 21:12:57 -0700
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Stefan Monnier wrote:
1- Take a file from public domain.
2- Make many small changes to it over the course of several years (all
    after the Berne convention).
3- Assume the sum of those changes is significantly higher than the
    "20-lines triviality threshold".
4- Is the result still public domain?

No, the result is public domain only if the contributors deliberately place it into the public domain, in a process known as dedication. And that process is legally controversial for works created after 1976 in the US - though I'm perhaps giving you more detail than you want to know, Creative Commons recommends against relying on such dedications <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/publicdomain/>.

If not, then the notice on this file (and others like it) is incorrect
[ This case better matches my mental model of how copyright law works.  ]

You're right about this.

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