public domain v free (was: 8" floppy project

From: Fred Cisin <>
Date: Tue Aug 10 13:55:12 2004

> I don't agree with the last part of your statement. To most people
> Public Domain equates to free. "Public domain" means the "public"
> owns it legally but it's still free in that anyone can use it for
> free.

Yes, "public domain" (relinquishment of copyright ownership) is free.
But free is not necessarily public domain. There do exist some
things that are copyrighted, but available to the public for free.

Consider Richard Stallman. None of his stuff is public domain.
He retains copyright on it so that he can make restrictions on it.

Consider Shareware. Every shareware author who understands
the laws retains copyright. One major reason is that there
have been numerous cases of others hijacking the revenue stream!
Sometimes it is a case where somebody makes enhancements, and
then directs the donations/fees/payments to themselves -
consider S.E.A v Phil Katz.
Other times, there have been people who have done nothing more
than change the splash screen to redirect the money.

Grumpy Ol' Fred
Received on Tue Aug 10 2004 - 13:55:12 BST

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