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Date: Wed, 30 Mar 2016 07:11:45 -0700
From: Christopher Lane <>
Subject: Re: musl licensing

On Mar 29, 2016 11:56 PM, <> wrote:
> On Tue, Mar 29, 2016 at 10:21:25AM -0700, Christopher Lane wrote:
> > Listen, if we're asking you for too much, I get it.  This is not our
> > project.  We didn't pour years into it, you did, and you have to do what
> > you think is right.  If it's beyond your personal ethics to claim
> > over the trivial files and public headers you wrote, then that's the
way it
> > is.  I'll be sad, but we'll deal with it.
> I appreciate your statement, but to be a little picky,
> and possibly as an argument to mention to your lawyers (?) :
> This is not necessarily a question of ethics, but somewhat a question
> of legal safety, as well as it is for Google.
> [You wrote
> "Google's on the receiving end of the musl license, so it seems a "good
> license" for us is one that provides clarity on what we can do with the
> code.  So [...] -- one that we _can't_ be sued over."]
> Rich/musl are on the other side and it certainly is illegal (somewhere)
> to claim copyright on something which is not copyrightable (at that

I don't know that this is true.  We can set aside whether the crt files and
public headers are copyrightable (I think they are; I've mentioned my
reasoning earlier); let's assume for same of argument they are not.  Given
that, I don't know that it would be illegal to claim copyright over them
anyway.  It would be an unenforceable claim, certainly, but it's not
evident to me that it would be illegal.  Your mention of the possibility is
the first I've heard of it. gives one account that doesn't
indicate illegality, albeit from an apparently US-centric view.  Do you
know of a country that has criminal laws around this?

I could imagine it being illegal somewhere to attempt to _enforce_ a
copyright claim over public domain work (i.e. extract payment from someone
for using a public domain work,) but we're not asking Rich to do that.  And
AFAICT even that's not illegal.

> The consequences may vary from place to place and from time to time.
> (I understand that it is not as attractive to sue the musl project as
> it would be to sue Google, where the money is, but nevertheless.
> May be Rich wants to travel to a country where an "illicit" copyright
> claim results in a jail term, or will happen to, in the future?)
> Regards,
> Rune

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