[tz] leapseconds.awk, LEAP directives and references

John Hawkinson jhawk at MIT.EDU
Sat Apr 8 03:57:20 UTC 2017

I hesitate to take this thread further astray, but I think it's worth it.

Paul Eggert <eggert at cs.ucla.edu> wrote on Fri,  7 Apr 2017
at 12:22:34 -0700 in <7fe9a9c9-248a-288d-8923-a61167b5eaf4 at cs.ucla.edu>:

> I didn't refer to any copyright notice, as there is no such notice
> for the IERS file
> <https://hpiers.obspm.fr/iers/bul/bulc/ntp/leap-seconds.list>. So by
> U.S. law (which now follows the 1988 Berne Convention) the file is
> copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission.

That is not precisely correct, in at least 2 ways:

(1) A work may be in the public domain without an explicit declaration
if the author has made it sufficiently clear in other places. For
instance, works of the United States government are in the public
domain and cannot be copywritten (see p.3 of Circular 3 that you cited).
I'm not saying this is the case with the French government or the IERS,
but lack of notice is not sufficient to decide one way or the other.

(2) Just because a file is copyrighted does not mean it cannot be
reproduced without permission. In the US we have "fair use," which is
a complicated set of tests and which is not exactly the same in all
countries. But nonetheless, it can be allowed (through fair use, and
maybe other doctrines) to reproduce all or part of a copyrighted work
absent explicit permission in the appropriate circumstances.

Additionally, *facts* cannot be copyrighted. Again, I don't mean
to opine on whether the IERS file constitutes facts as opposed to
being a creative work, but there's at least some reason to think that
it does.

It's probably worth some effort to try to clarify how this all
plays out with respect to the IERS file. Didn't someone volunteer to
talk to them last year?

--jhawk at mit.edu
  John Hawkinson

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