Adding Fortuna as a new prng

Russ Allbery rra at
Fri Aug 20 20:26:14 EDT 2010

Nicolas Williams <Nicolas.Williams at> writes:
> On Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 04:52:13PM -0700, Russ Allbery wrote:

>> I don't believe it's ever been litigated, but the problem with there
>> being no clear legal way to put something into the public domain is
>> that there's some chance that they would be successful in litigation if
>> they ever did that, on the grounds that their release of software into
>> the public domain is not legally possible.  They would, of course, have
>> estoppel issues, and doubtless it would be complicated.

> I remember when the same thing was said of LLCs in the U.S. (I got
> advice 15 years ago to use an S corp instead of an LLC).  I suspect that
> American courts wouldn't want to create chaos by ignoring proof that an
> author did make a public statement placing a work into the public
> domain.  Creative Commons issues "receipts" for this...

Creative Commons won't let you do this, though; they specifically caution
against it in their web pages and direct you to CC0 instead, which is a
much more complex traditional license.

The argument that would be used in court, should this ever come up, would
probably be raised by the estate rather than the original author and would
probably argue that the original author was tricked into giving up their
rights, that the grant was abused by the defendant, that they were
ill-informed about the law and didn't have adequate legal counsel, etc.
Hopefully it wouldn't succeed (at least unless all those things were
true!), but I can see how it could easily become a mess, and similar
claims have worked in other arenas (such as in publishing between the
author's estate and a publishing company or movie rights holder).

Anyway, I think the deciding factor here is not so much the theoretical
argument about how this might play out, but the practical argument that
some of the consumers of MIT Kerberos are probably not going to be happy
with a simple public domain dedication, and I think we're in agreement

Russ Allbery (rra at             <>

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