Re: Licensing and copyright

Dear James,

> [1] In the event of a court battle, individuals and authors may have
> to appearin front of US courts, even if the FSF is defending them.
> This seems like a bit of a red herring.  If you have assigned your
> copyright to the FSF (and they have the papers to back up the
> assignment), then it is their problem.

[1] Even after an assignment, both the FSF and the author may be prosecuted 
(for example because the project was started by the author). A court may 
require that all parties be present. In which case an author may have to 
appear himself in court. 

> >[2] In the event of the FSF going bust (after a court battle for example),
> > the judge may not be bound to the FSF contracts. In certain circumstances
> > (terrorism, war, the FSF going bust, etc...), a judge may be able to
> > rewrite the FSF contracts and sell its assets to the most offering
> > company. 
> I am not a lawyer, but I would think the only way some entity could buy
> any of the FSF's copyrights would be to become the "successor in
> interest" to the contract that gave them ownership of the code in the
> first place.

In case of bankruptcy, a judge may not be bound to previous contracts (the 
GPL). Also, if one day (present or future) the GPL conflicts with Californian 
law, a Californian judge may be able to rewrite part of the GPL.

>The logical extension of this is to not assign copyrights at all (which 
>I think is a valid option -- it is the defacto Gnome copyright policy up 
>to now).  But if you are assigning copyright, I don't think the country 
>issue is too big a deal.

I am not in favour of cross-assignments, because they require that you show-up 
in California court when you live in Siberia and the converse is also true. 

We don't need any pyramidal organization owning all rights. In 99% cases, our 
individual constitutional righs suffice. In the remaining 1% of cases, people 
can give up their ownership rights to a local FSF organization.

Because most of us are not U.S. citizen, I would appreciate that the scope of 
our liability be verified before proposing us to fall under the embrella of 
US laws.

This probably requires a study by a professor in law or one of its students. A 
lawyer will not have time to study all possible situations.

Until then, I prefer my own country laws and constitutional rights. 

Best regards,

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