Re: Licensing and copyright

In many cases, having a single holder of copyright for a single application can make it easier to defend the case-- you don't have to be dragged into court if Novell and SCO and IBM, for example, fight over your kernel code. Just to make some sort of very hypothetical example.

Typically the person assigning the code will deem it to be one of two things: a "work made for hire," which is to say, they will relinquish all authorship rights, or, more likely they will assign a non-exclusive license so that both the individual and the organization are copyright holders. This is done in exchange for a nominal fee, (often $1 US) but the fee is really a formality-- glory, praise, or access to other code can all be used as 'payment,' and in the case of a non-profit organization like the FSF, the code counts as a donation... you could presumably even declare its value and deduct that from your (US) tax filings...

IANAL, etc.


On Fri, 2004-02-20 at 10:23 +0100, Jean-Michel POURE wrote:

Le Jeudi 19 Février 2004 21:34, Rob Adams a écrit :
> The FSF has some general guidelines on prudent measures for handling
> copyright for GPL projects, but GNOME does not seem to follow these
> guidelines.  For example, the FSF recommends for many GNU projects that
> contributors assign their copyrights to the FSF to make enforcement of
> the GPL easier.

Dear Rob,

Are you asking if it makes sense to assign copyrights (owned by individuals 
scattered in several countries, protected by their local constitutional and 
author rights in more than 200 different countries)
to ONE SINGLE organization registered in the U.S.A. ?

In my opinion and I can only speak for myself, it seems more interesting to 
take advantage of local laws (European, Indian, Brazilian, etc...).

I like the FSF and I the United-States for several reasons. But I do not trust 
the American laws, because they do not respect individual liberties.

The day that you hand over your author rights to an American organization, you 
will not be able to travel safely in the States and may get arrested for any 
reason, including the DMCA.

Is that what you are proposing to us?

Furthermore, but this is only a very small issue: the notion of copyright is 
completely different in the States and in Europe. In France, for example, you 
cannot hand over a copyright forever or should at least get paid for it. In 
most countries, handing over copyrights forever is not permitted. 

On the converse, it seems relevant that American citizen hand over their 
copyrights to the FSF if they wish to. It may be safer for them.


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