Quoting Paul O'Malley (ompaul at eircom.net):
> My read is that you renounce your rights to the copyright of the
Actually, at least in countries signatory to the Berne Convention, you
_can't_. And, no, that's not really what the licence says. I'll
One of the rights automatically reserved to the copyright holder by law
is that of "attribution" -- having one's author credit preserved.
However, most countries' copyright statutes (those that I'm familiar
with, anyway) provide specifically that the copyright holder may, if he
wishes, disclaim that right of attribution. That's what my "rants" page
license does in the bastard reverse copyleft clause. The attribution
right is distinct from copyright _title_ (ownership), which ever since
adoption of the Berne regime persists until expiration.
> Then you try to impose a transfer of obligation to accept "credit" for
> the article. In so saying "On your head be it for the content of the
> derived document."
Again, it does -not- surrender my title to the original work. Most legal
scholars seem to feel that it's doubtful one can do that, and the effect
of purporting to do so is uncertain.
> Now for the interesting thing.
>> Let us say I take a document with this licence a paper on "FOO and
> GENERAL". So I want to do a little change for stylistic reasons (STOP
> LAUGHING NOW!) I offer it to the author and the author does not take the
> change because I lack style by their criteria or some other random
> reason. Now this document has the "bastard reverse copyleft" so I must
> remove the copyright this has a legal implication but I am saved by
> sentence two of the licence, or am I?
You cannot, literally speaking, "remove the copyright". The copyright is
an abstract ownership interest that is (in Berne Convention countries)
inherent in the work starting the moment it's created in fixed form,
and automatically becomes the creator's property, at that moment.
One of the changes that the Berne Convention made to copyright
mechanics, you see, is that copyright _notices_ are no longer required.
Adding _or removing_ such a notice has zero effect on the underlying
property interest. Also, the creator's act of issuing a work without
such a notice doesn't surrender that property interest. I wouldn't say
it's wholly without effect, since it prevents someone from claiming
ignorance of the owner's claim, but the claim _does_ exist with or
without the notice.
> Time progresses as it usually does and I have issued it forth with me
> asserting my own copyright as allowed by the licence.
You are not only permitted but actually _required_ to assert authorship.
That doesn't give you _title_ to the "upstream" material that you
borrowed (though you would have automatic title to any portion of the
work that you yourself created).
> Guess what I see as an issue. I can't use the same licence, why
> because I am forced to "assert my own authorship (and not the original
> authors) in every practical medium"
No, nothing prevents you from either asserting your own authorship (and
not mine) to the derivative work, nor using the same licence.
Technically, you yourself are entitled only to apply bastard reverse
copyleft to the portion of the derivative work that _you_ created, since
you've never owned title to my portion. Serendipitously, though, I
happen to have stated the same terms for my portion. So, any
third-party recipient can easily comply with both of our sets of terms
-- by asserting his own authorship (and not mine, and not yours) over
his "downstream" derivative work.
Technically, the downstream derivative work would be encumbered by three
authors' property rights: mine, yours, and the third chap's. Two of
those authors (you and I) would have insisted that notice (attribution)
of our ownership interest be deliberately concealed -- but, as a matter of
law, that ownership interest would still be present.
Admittedly, this is an extremely twisted sort of licence -- which is
part of why I like it. ;->
 See, for example, Creative Commons's Public Domain Declaration.
I've been in correspondence with CC's directors about the legal problems
of such declarations, and they intend to post warnings about those
problems the next time they roll out Web site modifications.
 That is, (a) a "creative" work that is (b) in one of the categories
of endeavour covered by copyright law, which not all are. For example,
there was a famous copyright case in Britain, in which BT's claim of
copyright over telephone directory listings (attempting to bar their
republication by a competitor) was denied on grounds of insufficient
creative content in merely arranging public data alphabetically on a
page. Also, as an example of a creative category not covered by
copyright law at all, typefaces (fonts) are not covered -- though the
font-hinting programs used in almost all computer font implementations
 Some countries define by statute situations in which no copyright
interest arises ab initio, in which case the work immediately becomes
public domain without expiration of a copyright period. For example,
works created directly by the USA Federal government do not enjoy
copyright protection. However, Federal agencies can commission creation
of such a work by outside parties and then accept title ownership as
part of the business contract.
(IANAL, either, but I've been at this for a while.)
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