Adding Fortuna as a new prng

Russ Allbery rra at
Fri Aug 20 19:40:45 EDT 2010

Nicolas Williams <Nicolas.Williams at> writes:
> On Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 04:02:28PM -0700, Russ Allbery wrote:

>> I wonder if Canada lets him actually do that.  The US by and large
>> doesn't.

> Can you be more specific?

It's an unsettled area of copyright law, but it's generally believed by
most US copyright lawyers that I've heard express an opinion on the
subject that individuals in the US cannot put work on which they hold
copyright into the public domain in an irrevocable way that third parties
can rely on, or at least that it's quite difficult to do so and simply
saying "this is in the public domain" is insufficient.  This is because US
copyright law doesn't admit the possibility of doing this, and contract
law requires that one get something in return to create a valid contract,
which by definition cannot exist in a public domain grant.

The IETF uses the following language for this case:

     In addition, the authors (on behalf of themselves and their
     employers) hereby relinquish any claim to any copyright that they may
     have in this work, whether granted under contract or by operation of
     law or international treaty, and hereby commit to the public, at
     large, that they shall not, at any time in the future, seek to
     enforce any copyright in this work against any person or entity, or
     prevent any person or entity from copying, publishing, distributing
     or creating derivative works of this work.

which essentially attempts to create the same thing via a public statement
that could later be used as estoppel.  Creative Commons has an even more
complex legal license that they recommend using instead of public domain
in this case:


and note:

    Dedicating works to the public domain is difficult if not impossible
    for those wanting to contribute their works for public use before
    applicable copyright term expires. Few if any jurisdictions have a
    process for doing so easily. Laws vary from jurisdiction to
    jurisdiction as to what rights are automatically granted and how and
    when they expire or may be voluntarily relinquished. More challenging
    yet, many legal systems effectively prohibit any attempt by copyright
    owners to surrender rights automatically conferred by law,
    particularly moral rights, even when the author wishing to do so is
    well informed and resolute about contributing a work to the public

Russ Allbery (rra at             <>

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