Re: Licensing and copyright

Le Mardi 24 Février 2004 18:52, Richard Stallman a écrit :
> Nonetheless, I can offer one general response that might be relevant.
> In a GPL enforcement action, there is no desperate hurry to go to
> court.  Waiting a year would not be a disqualification--especially not
> if the copyright holder has been discussing the matter with the
> violator during that year.

As you wrote, there seems to be a misunderstanding.

You are focusing mainly on Copyright violation. I agree that Copyright may 
sometimes be violated. In which case, authors need help.

I was raising attention about other issues: the need for non-US residents to 
comply with the laws of the United-States, even after assignment.

My point is that American law does not offer enough protection for non-US 


After assignment:
- you may be obliged to show-up in court in person (in some circumstances),
- you may have to pay large sums of money (ex: patents),
- etc, etc, etc ...

Furthermore, there was no study of the impact of US laws
on donated software included in the FSF assets.

In simple cases, we can ask what happens if the FSF goes bust (this will 
probably never happen). But there are lots of cases where judges or law 
makers may change a contract.

For example:

In case of terrorism, the American government could well decide to nationalize 
the FSF assets (this is absolutely fiction) to prevent any use of Free 
Software by terrorists.

Another example :

What if Gnome is used in an American power-plant and the power-plant explodes 
(this is absolutely fiction)?

To make it clearer:

Let us suppose that I am a person of Siberia visiting California. Would you 
agree to sign an assignment under the laws of Siberia? Would you trust the 
Siberian government and the Siberian laws? Even if Siberia is the "best 
country for copyright".

Until a detailed analysis is written by a professor in law, I do not recommand 
any non-US resident to donate ownership of his/her Gnome work to the FSF 
California. If you are an American citizen, there is no problem in doing so.

Best regards,

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