Do source-code copyright and licences etc. expire after 70 years andgo into the public domain?

Discussion in 'C Programming' started by John Reye, May 1, 2012.

  1. John Reye

    John Reye Guest

    I was just wandering:
    Is all source code guaranteed to become public domain?
    Does this mean we'll eventually have the source-code of all
    proprietary software?

    For example such classic programs as:
    * the Bell Labs C compiler (by Ritchies et al.)
    * the Bell Labs Unix-Code
    etc.
    ?
     
    John Reye, May 1, 2012
    #1
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  2. Re: Do source-code copyright and licences etc. expire after 70 yearsand go into the public domain?

    On 01.05.2012 23:13, John Reye wrote:
    > I was just wandering:
    > Is all source code guaranteed to become public domain?
    > Does this mean we'll eventually have the source-code of all
    > proprietary software?
    >
    > For example such classic programs as:
    > * the Bell Labs C compiler (by Ritchies et al.)
    > * the Bell Labs Unix-Code
    > etc.
    > ?


    1) Assuming laws never change again, source code falls into the public
    domain 70 years after the death of the author in many juridictions.

    2) Laws are abitrary, and it doesn't make sense to rely on them not to
    change for a long time. Historically, laws have been changed to ensure
    that works do not fall into the public domain (and in some jurisdictions
    works have been taken out of the public domain and given to the heirs of
    the author) by extending the duration to the current 70 years.

    3) This is OT for comp.lang.c

    Philipp
     
    Philipp Klaus Krause, May 1, 2012
    #2
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  3. Re: Do source-code copyright and licences etc. expire after 70 years and go into the public domain?

    John Reye <> writes:
    > I was just wandering:
    > Is all source code guaranteed to become public domain?
    > Does this mean we'll eventually have the source-code of all
    > proprietary software?
    >
    > For example such classic programs as:
    > * the Bell Labs C compiler (by Ritchies et al.)
    > * the Bell Labs Unix-Code
    > etc.
    > ?


    This really isn't a C question. There's a misc.int-property newsgroup
    that discusses intellectual property.

    --
    Keith Thompson (The_Other_Keith) <http://www.ghoti.net/~kst>
    Will write code for food.
    "We must do something. This is something. Therefore, we must do this."
    -- Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn, "Yes Minister"
     
    Keith Thompson, May 1, 2012
    #3
  4. John Reye

    Paul N Guest

    Re: Do source-code copyright and licences etc. expire after 70 yearsand go into the public domain?

    On May 1, 11:15 pm, Philipp Klaus Krause <> wrote:
    > On 01.05.2012 23:13, John Reye wrote:
    >
    > > I was just wandering:
    > > Is all source code guaranteed to become public domain?
    > > Does this mean we'll eventually have the source-code of all
    > > proprietary software?

    >
    > > For example such classic programs as:
    > > * the Bell Labs C compiler (by Ritchies et al.)
    > > * the Bell Labs Unix-Code
    > > etc.
    > > ?

    >
    > 1) Assuming  laws never change again, source code falls into the public
    > domain 70 years after the death of the author in many juridictions.


    Which means that, if software companies are going to take proper care
    of what is probably their biggest assets, they ought to be keeping
    track of who wrote what and also whether said authors are still alive.
    Of course, as it won't be a problem until at least 70 years after the
    program is written, they may decide not to bother about it yet.
    Interesting times could loom in about 70 years time...

    Incidentally, this all relates to whether you're allowed to copy the
    source and/or object code. If the source code is kept secret you still
    may never get to see it, but for physical reasons rather than legal
    ones.

    > 2) Laws are abitrary, and it doesn't make sense to rely on them not to
    > change for a long time. Historically, laws have been changed to ensure
    > that works do not fall into the public domain (and in some jurisdictions
    > works have been taken out of the public domain and given to the heirs of
    > the author) by extending the duration to the current 70 years.


    In the UK, the period was set to be 50 years after death in the CDP
    Act 1988. (Not sure what it was before then, sorry - it might have
    been the same.) But since then it has been changed to 70 years after
    death. If it keeps changing at this rate it might never come out of
    copyright.

    > 3) This is OT for comp.lang.c


    Yes.
     
    Paul N, May 2, 2012
    #4
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