Re: Licensing and copyright

I think it's time that interested parties mail outside the list.  Get back 
to us when you've reached an agreement.  Otherwise, we are seeing a 
rathole, and it's just wasted bandwidth. 


On Tue, 24 Feb 2004, Danilo Segan wrote:

> Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2004 22:22:36 +0100
> From: Danilo Segan <danilo gnome org>
> To: jm poure com
> Cc: foundation-list gnome org
> Subject: Re: Licensing and copyright
> It's hard to stay out of this, it seems (and my apology to anyone
> already enraged about this [part of] thread, but I cannot help 
> myself).  I suggest only those who're really bored read this
> (not excluding Jean-Michel either ;) -- I put out here my wealthy
> arsenal of rants and trolls.
> Jean-Michel POURE <jm poure com> writes:
> >
> > 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.
> >
> This is completely off: you need not comply with US laws if you're not
> US resident, and you're not currently in US.  While in US, you
> certainly have to abide by US laws.
> So, if you assign your copyright to FSF, you get protection in the US
> for no extra cost: in your own country, FSF can probably do little
> about it, except in really significant cases.
> As you also said earlier, most local laws in Europe don't allow
> transferring complete rights, i.e. in at least Serbia, there's no way
> to alienate "moral rights" -- if author of any copyrighted work finds
> it misused as compared to their original intentions, they're allowed
> and encouraged by law to get their rights back (to make a contract
> void), or to seek some compensation.
> So basically, if FSF under US law would ever have to go under
> any of the scenarious you mention, it would happen only in US, unless
> other countries also establish same (imaginary) laws you envision.
> And if that happens, you're pretty much screwed up no matter where
> you are, ain't you?
> > 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.
> They can only "control" their own citizens, provided they allow them
> to do it (or they change from "democracy" to some sort of "autocracy"
> or "oligarchy", which they may already be ;).
> > Another example :
> >
> > What if Gnome is used in an American power-plant and the power-plant explodes 
> > (this is absolutely fiction)?
> I strongly suggest against using Gnome in an American power-plant.
> Actually, I strongly suggest against using Gnome in any power-plant.
> Gnome was not built up to the standards and requirements for high-risk
> real-time operation (medical, army, running power plants, planes,
> subway...).
> Gnome is a #$%!#@ desktop environment (ok, and development platform
> for desktop apps)!
> > 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".
> I didn't know the Siberia has law-makers autonomous from Russia. :)
> Still, American laws don't apply to you unless you're in the US (if
> they do apply, it's because your country has an agreement with US, and
> that's defined through your local laws, not US laws).
> There's no clause in GPL or copyright assignments that you plan to
> abide by US laws, whatever they may be.  Do you perhaps remember
> export restrictions on cryptographic software?  How come there was so
> lot of it, yet it was against the law in US to distribute it outside
> US?  How come that law didn't apply to European countries and their
> citizens?
> And if you want to bring a point of "what if they change laws, and I'm
> visiting US", how about this: "what if they change laws such as to
> make all French or non-US citizens illegal in US, and you're visiting
> US"?  It's like thinking: "a man can get hit by a car when crossing
> the street, so I'll hold onto this side of the street for the rest of
> my life" (and later on, a car runs down the sidewalk and over you --
> just trying to be a bit more poetic ;).
> So stop with "what if's" and concentrate on realistic assumptions.
> > 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.
> There's no "ownership" of "work of an author" (as it's called in
> Serbian copyright law).
> That's the essence of copyright: creators of works that cannot be
> "owned" are thus encouraged to produce them, because they get some
> rights on their use for a limited period of time.
> Also, there are a lot of peculiarities (eg. in Serbian law, a company
> cannot be the "author" -- people must be authors, and they receive
> "moral rights", and company which hired them receives only "exclusive
> rights" to make profit out of it, resell, etc. but they may be
> challenged at any time by holders of "moral rights").
> It doesn't take a law professor to figure that much out.  And there's
> probably no law professor familiar with the copyright laws of all the
> countries which from there are participants in the Gnome project.
> So, what to do then? (rhetorical question, no need to answer)
> And finally, you don't need to assign your copyright to FSF if you
> don't want to.  Once upon a time, this was a discussion about policy,
> and possible ways for those that may wish to do so.
> Cheers,
> Danilo
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> foundation-list gnome org

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