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The Icon Bar: The Playpen: Public Domain
 
  Public Domain
  apacketofsweets (11:41 27/7/2011)
  arawnsley (11:57 27/7/2011)
    apacketofsweets (15:41 27/7/2011)
      arawnsley (16:00 27/7/2011)
        apacketofsweets (20:03 27/7/2011)
          arawnsley (22:56 27/7/2011)
          VincceH (23:17 27/7/2011)
            VincceH (23:31 27/7/2011)
              VincceH (23:33 27/7/2011)
                apacketofsweets (03:37 28/7/2011)
          apdl (08:37 28/7/2011)
  apdl (12:32 27/7/2011)
 
Sion Message #118387, posted by apacketofsweets at 11:41, 27/7/2011
apacketofsweets
RISC OS, too cool for Javascript.

Posts: 110
I was under the impression that a program in the public domain did not have any copyright to it and the program could be edited, distributed etc. by anyone.

But I've got an application in front of me that specifically states in the !Help file that it has been placed in the public domain, yet when I click on Info on the iconbar icon, it says (c) Author.

Am I missing out on something here or is this a contradiction on the author's part?
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Andrew Rawnsley Message #118389, posted by arawnsley at 11:57, 27/7/2011, in reply to message #118387
R-Comp chap
Posts: 534
The problem is that there are different interpretations of the words "public domain", and authors using their own wording to achieve different goals.

These days, things like the BSD-licence, LGPL and GPL exist to offer pre-cut templates for different kinds of licences, but back in the day people didn't know about these things.

I think the only "responsible" behaviour is to contact the author (if possible) when dealing with such programs, and establish any necessary permissions.

Often the author is trying to say "the program is free, and can be freely distributed, but only as an executable - not source". Or, "This is fine for free distribution, but I don't want people selling it off as commercial software". Another important sentiment is that the author wants (understandably) to be acknowledged for their work, and doesn't want other people passing it off as their own work, under a different branding.

The key point is to respect the original author's intentions, and if possible try and gain permissions for whatever it is you wish to do with the software.
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David Holden Message #118390, posted by apdl at 12:32, 27/7/2011, in reply to message #118387
Member
Posts: 138
I was under the impression that a program in the public domain did not have any copyright to it and the program could be edited, distributed etc. by anyone.
Yes, but in this country almost everything that is described as 'public domain' isn't. Any 'work' is copyright the moment it's created. No-one has to say 'copyright', it's automatic. As the term 'public domain' has no precise legal definition it, of itself, is meaningless. As with 99% of so-called 'public domain' if the author says something like 'this program is public domain but you mustn't remove my name' that actually reinforces the copyright.

In the absence of anything to the contrary if a program is defined by the author as 'public domain' you may make certain assumptions i.e., use it, give a copy to a friend, etc. but in order to do this with absolute legality you need the author to have specifically given this right, which is why most 'PD' programs also have these permissions written into their help file.
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Sion Message #118393, posted by apacketofsweets at 15:41, 27/7/2011, in reply to message #118389
apacketofsweets
RISC OS, too cool for Javascript.

Posts: 110
I see, my intentions are simply to make this application available online, as it is no longer available anywhere. But because the help file doesn't mention anything about distributing it for free, I'm assuming legally I can't?
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Andrew Rawnsley Message #118394, posted by arawnsley at 16:00, 27/7/2011, in reply to message #118393
R-Comp chap
Posts: 534
That would probably be the best starting point, I'm afraid. Otherwise you end up with the whole Abandonware can of worms.

What program is it, please? And who wrote it? We may be able to help you contact the author and resurrect it smile
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Sion Message #118397, posted by apacketofsweets at 20:03, 27/7/2011, in reply to message #118394
apacketofsweets
RISC OS, too cool for Javascript.

Posts: 110
It's !Intergrate by Graham Hick, the help file does have an address for him but as this program was written in 1991, t here's a good chance he doesn't live there anymore. I've searched online for him and his address, and nothing of note has come up.
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Andrew Rawnsley Message #118398, posted by arawnsley at 22:56, 27/7/2011, in reply to message #118397
R-Comp chap
Posts: 534
He doesn't appear on our customer databases, I'm afraid, so I can't help from that angle either unhappy I have a "Hicks" and several "Hickson"s but no "Hick".
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VinceH Message #118399, posted by VincceH at 23:17, 27/7/2011, in reply to message #118397
VincceH
Lowering the tone since the dawn of time

Posts: 1598
It's !Intergrate by Graham Hick, the help file does have an address for him but as this program was written in 1991, t here's a good chance he doesn't live there anymore. I've searched online for him and his address, and nothing of note has come up.
What's the exact wording of the relevant part in the !Help file?

I've just found another app (Numeric) by the same guy, and the wording in the file clearly allows for it to be distributed. OTOH, this is dated 1996, which is five years further on, so he may have refined his wording in those five years.

Failing that, then, what does the app do?

Edit: Got the app name wrong

[Edited by VincceH at 23:33, 27/7/2011]
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VinceH Message #118400, posted by VincceH at 23:31, 27/7/2011, in reply to message #118399
VincceH
Lowering the tone since the dawn of time

Posts: 1598
In fact, Numeric may actually be the solution to your dilema. When I looked, I skipped through the !Help file until I found the 'copyright' section, which says this:

This program is "Freeware". As far as I am concerned, this means that you can distribute it to anyone and everyone, PROVIDING that all files within
the !Numeric directory are included in their original form, and you don't make any profit from distribution.
What I didn't look at first was what the program is for. I just did when I was about to close the file. It says this:

This program is a combination of my previous programs !Integrate (v1.03) and !Diff (v1.01)
So, while the distribution of Integrate isn't clear cut, Numeric can be distributed with no problem - and replaces Integrate anyway.

Edit: Got the app name wrong

[Edited by VincceH at 23:34, 27/7/2011]
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VinceH Message #118401, posted by VincceH at 23:33, 27/7/2011, in reply to message #118400
VincceH
Lowering the tone since the dawn of time

Posts: 1598
Forgot the link where I found it:

http://wuerthner.dyndns.org/mathematics.html
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Sion Message #118402, posted by apacketofsweets at 03:37, 28/7/2011, in reply to message #118401
apacketofsweets
RISC OS, too cool for Javascript.

Posts: 110
Great detective work from Vince! Numeric seems to do everything Intergrate could and more, although Numeric does have a habit of changing the system's font to System.

An answer to your earlier question (although it's not really important anymore), !Intergrate's help file stated (in big captal letters) "This program is Public Domain!!!!!".

[Edited by apacketofsweets at 03:39, 28/7/2011]
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David Holden Message #118404, posted by apdl at 08:37, 28/7/2011, in reply to message #118397
Member
Posts: 138
It's !Intergrate by Graham Hick, the help file does have an address for him but as this program was written in 1991, t here's a good chance he doesn't live there anymore. I've searched online for him and his address, and nothing of note has come up.
It's in the APDL library on the website and the last address I had for him is the published one.

As you point out the ReadMe file just says 'This program is Public Domain'. That doesn't mean the program isn't copyright but it would normally be interpreted (in the absence of anything else) as a general permission for anyone to use, copy or modify it, so there shouldn't be any problem as long as you don't try to 'exploit' it in any way.
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The Icon Bar: The Playpen: Public Domain