Re: Licensing and copyright

Dear Danilo,

[I am not trying to flame people here. My wife is Canadian, part of my family 
lives in the U.S.]. Now, a brief answer:

The beauty of the GPL is in the GPL itself.
In a way, the question of ownership of rights is subsidiary.

> 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.


1) After assignment, the assigned copyright is included into the FSF accounts 
( probably at the cost of 1 dollar, I really don't know).

2) Therefore, this property falls under the umbrella of U.S. laws. There are 
pros and cons:

- More control on copyright issues in the United-States. The FSF California 
can take action to defend its properties. If you are a US-resident, it is an 
important issue.

- On the converse, the effects of US laws on the liability of non-US residents 
have never been studied in details by a professor in law: DMCA rights, need 
to show-up in court in person in some cases, indirect liability in case of 
injuries, modification of US laws (like extension of copyright time), 
nationalization of the FSF (to prevent Microsoft from bankruptcy), etc, etc.

Never say "never", because by definition law is superior to contracts.  Who 
can foretell what will be the laws in California in 20 years?

> 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)

You are pointing out an interesting issue. Normal people from Europe, Japan, 
Siberia, South-Western-Nowhere-in-the-Pacific cannot be aware of all laws 
existing in the U.S. 

Most of us did not understand the essence of what "assignment" means, i.e. the 
predominance of US laws and the transfer of property.

Therefore, a disclaimer should be added to the HOWTO explaining that:
- the assigned software falls under the umbrella of US laws.
- the liability of a non-US resident has never been studied.
- non-US residents can contact their local FSF bureau to donate their work.

Does it sound like a normal claim or is there something contrary to the FSF or 
Gnome principles? 

Best regards,

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