7

I came across this license:

/**
 * The author disclaims copyright to this source code. In place of
 * a legal notice, here is a blessing:
 *
 * May you do good and not evil.
 * May you find forgiveness for yourself and forgive others.
 * May you share freely, never taking more than you give.
 */

Can a programmer really renounce the ownership of their source code?

10
  • 3
    Also depends on jurisdiction. there's the saying: "Programming is like sex. Make one little mistake and support it for the rest of your life." In some jurisdictions, copyright cannot be disclaimed. Mar 8 '13 at 4:19
  • 1
    Why the downvote? Mar 8 '13 at 4:26
  • 4
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about legal questions of intellectual property.
    – user40980
    Mar 3 '15 at 2:12
  • 3
    @dan-klasson the question of "does it have the same legal bearing" is one that can only be answered by lawyers, which we are not. Legal assistance is specifically listed as off topic in the help center, and I believe this falls firmly in the realm of ask a lawyer.
    – user40980
    Mar 3 '15 at 4:39
  • 2
    @dan-klasson there are licensing questions such as "how do I use an MIT license in a GPL project" or "what am I required to provide when using a library that is AGPL licensed" and the like. Those are questions that do not involve interpretation of the licenses but rather following the instructions. On the other hand, questions that involve the legal interpretation of some text is something that can only be answered by lawyers. This question is asking for the legal interpretation of some license. The only reasonable answer is "talk to a lawyer in your jurisdiction" (the answers will vary).
    – user40980
    Mar 3 '15 at 15:39
6

Disclaiming copyright is the same as placing it in the public domain, and means there is no copyright, so there are no restrictions whatsoever. Technically, disclaiming copyright isn't a license, since a license states the terms under which you may make copies legally.

They are not the same, but there would be little practical difference in some jurisdictions.

2
  • 6
    IANAL but AFAIK in some legal jurisdictions you can't disclaim copyright. There's effectively no such thing as "the public domain"
    – MarkJ
    Mar 8 '13 at 14:18
  • 1
    Read the licence again. There is no restriction. Mar 8 '13 at 20:08

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