RE: data sources

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Wed May 30 2007 - 11:01:12 CDT

  • Next message: Philippe Verdy: "RE: Resolution process" wrote:
    > (2) GPL, general public license, is in many respects putting something
    > under public domain - if the phrasing of the terms for Unicode don't
    > allow for this, then unless we appy the non-creative rule (1). It may
    > well be hard in the future for Unihan.txt to be expanded. I suggest
    > the unicode rules should be revised to allow GPL data.
    > (3) with this data which anyone can download, the fact that it is
    > placed under GPL in such a way means that the "author" wishes the data
    > to be available and I can not see how they will object to either it
    > being placed in Unihan.txt and changing it (which is allowed under the
    > terms of GPL)
    > (4) If Unihan.txt does have this restrcition (see the above points
    > above which suggest it does not have), and does not change it, then in
    > the futuure it may well be outdone by a UnihanGPL.txt.

    You're completely wrong! The GPL is DEFINITELY NOT public domain, because
    this is an effective legal licence that has its own requirements, including
    the need to protect the assigned copyright, tracing who are the authors of
    every modification, and providing a required access to the sources of the
    work or its modifications.

    Public domain works do not have those restrictions, and can be embedded in
    other works without having to keep the original copyright or authors, so
    they allow reassignment of copyright to any combined or derived work, for
    creation of a new proprietary licence that forbids reverse engineering or
    restrict the publication.

    In other words, the "public domain" only protects the original (unmodified)
    works for reuse and publication by anyone. Changing only a single comma to a
    "public domain" text would create a difference that is no more in the public

    The public domain is really too much relaxed to keep the freedom of use
    (especially for every new creations) because documents need to be used on
    new systems and have to survive independently of the technology used to
    encode them or transport them. So the Unicode standard cannot be (should not
    be) placed in the public domain, before it has reached a long enough
    publication time, so that many forms of the original work can be found
    without requiring permission from someone else.

    The only way to make the work freely usable is by protecting it with a
    nominative copyright, under the international convention of Bern and other
    WIPO treaties (that's what the GPL does even though it also uses the term
    "copyleft" for protecting other rights than just the original author's

    Today, the "public domain" is definitely dead, as it was shown that it does
    not protect anything in the new numeric world (and it will stay dead for a
    very long time, at least unless it is redefined and equally protected
    legally under international WIPO treaties, with the same force as the
    protection of human rights, of life in general, and of our shared

    Otherwise, things like our shared languages that make the culture of
    humanity are placed at risk of being copyrighted and subject to licences for
    use. (And similar things would be at risk: the texts of our laws that
    everybody is supposed to know, but whose texts will become so much protected
    by copyrights that nobody will be able to get its exact text at reasonable
    price, something that is already starting to cause problems, and cause lots
    of complications for legislators and even the judiciary authorities, that
    have difficulties to get all the relevant texts and that can produce new
    contradictory texts and an even more complex legislation!)

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