[LINK] Ars: 'Musopen raises $40, 000 to set classical music "free"'

Kim Holburn kim at holburn.net
Wed Sep 15 08:41:11 EST 2010

On 2010/Sep/14, at 8:07 PM, Roger Clarke wrote:

>> On 2010/Sep/14, at 11:54 AM, Roger Clarke wrote: ...
>>> [What Aaron's really doing (which is a great idea) is using  
>>> donations
>>> to pay for recordings of performances, and then making them  
>>> available
>>> under a liberal copyright licence.]
> At 16:25 +1000 14/9/10, Kim Holburn wrote:
>> I'm not sure.  I looked for CC style attributes on the site, but not
>> exhaustively, and didn't find any but it does mention "public domain"
>> and it is clear that they understand what the term means.  I believe
>> it is possible for a copyright owner to donate works to the "public
>> domain".
> What I was trying to say (clumsily, sorry) is that:
> I don't believe that the law has any concept of 'public domain' for
> works that are still within copyright.

Hmmm....  Well, "the law" of which country.  Up until reasonably  
recently - around 1989 - in the US, a work was not copyright unless  
included a copyright notice was included.  Wikipedia says that 20  
countries still require a copyright notice before a work is considered  
copyright.  Otherwise I guess it is public domain.

 From wikipedia:
> Works are in the public domain if their kind is not covered by  
> intellectual property rights or if the intellectual property rights  
> have expired, have been forfeited, or have never been claimed.

Forfeited means what, I wonder?

> You can't 'give it away'.

While copyright law was clearly written with rights' holders in mind,  
the public domain is the elephant in the room and is the reason for  
copyright law.  Surely too, if you have "rights", you have the right  
not to exercise those rights?  You can certainly sell or contract  
those rights away.  You can give them away for money - as in "work for  

According to this article in wikimedia you can effectively give a work  
into the public domain.  A simple statement of dedication to the  
public domain may be enough.

> An anti-copyright notice is a specific statement that is added to a  
> work in order to encourage wide distribution. Such notices are  
> legally required to host such specific media; under the Berne  
> Convention in international copyright law, works are protected even  
> if no copyright statement is attached to them. However, "anti- 
> copyright" statements typically do not take the form of either  
> sophisticated open content licenses or a simple dedication to the  
> public domain; instead, they usually just encourage wide  
> distribution. It is possible to denounce all claims to copyright in  
> a work including moral rights in a written disclaimer.
> An example of an anti-copyright notice is the following: "Anti- 
> Copyright! Reprint freely, in any manner desired, even without  
> naming the source." Where such notices are attached depends highly  
> on the type of work. They are often found in socialist anarchist  
> magazines and books.
> A copyright waiver might state the following:
> The author of this work hereby waives all claim of copyright  
> (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the  
> public domain; it may be used, distorted or destroyed in any manner  
> whatsoever without further attribution or notice to the creator.
> Most people would regard "anti-copyright" notices as being  
> equivalent to a dedication of material into the public domain (as in  
> the second example above). Some of these disclaimers, however, are  
> less accurate and need to be interpreted individually as the term  
> anti-copyright has no accepted legal meaning. For example, if just  
> free distribution is encouraged, modification or lack of attribution  
> is still illegal, making the material ineligible for collaborative  
> writing projects like Wikipedia. In such a case anti-copyright is  
> not a true denial of copyright, but just a modification of the  
> protection it affords copyright holders.

> What the law *can* do is construe from your actions that you've
> granted a licence, and from Aaron's actions it would probably
> construe a very liberal licence.
> There's no need for any formal indication, such as a CC licence mark,
> for a licence to be granted, or deemed by the courts to have been
> granted.

Kim Holburn
IT Network & Security Consultant
T: +61 2 61402408  M: +61 404072753
mailto:kim at holburn.net  aim://kimholburn
skype://kholburn - PGP Public Key on request

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