Subject: Re: how much right do I have on my project, if there are patches by others?
From: Arnoud Engelfriet <arnoud@engelfriet.net>
Date: Fri, 6 Jul 2007 18:51:12 +0200

Ben Tilly wrote:
> On 7/6/07, Arnoud Engelfriet <arnoud@engelfriet.net> wrote:
> >I guess it depends on jurisdiction. In some, you need permission
> >from all copyright holders. In others, any copyright holder can
> >sue, but at the same time any other copyright holder can grant
> >a license to the entire work, making such lawsuits a waste of money.
> 
> I am not a lawyer, but I've never heard of such a jurisdiction.  I'm
> positive that the USA, Canada and Great Britain don't work that way,
> and I'd be surprised if any country following British Common Law does.

It is my understanding of US copyright law that each co-owner of
a work has an independent right to use or non-exclusively license 
the use of a work.

>From
>http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode17/usc_sec_17_00000201----000-notes.html
There is also no need for a specific statutory provision concerning the
rights and duties of the coowners of a work; court-made law on this point is
left undisturbed. Under the bill, as under the present law, coowners of a
copyright would be treated generally as tenants in common, with each coowner
having an independent right to use or license the use of a work, subject to
a duty of accounting to the other coowners for any profits.

In Germany all copyright holders need to consent to a license granted 
by any one copyright holder. 

> >Those recommendations are not part of the GPL, fortunately.
> 
> What do you mean by "part of the GPL"?  

I mean they are not part of the license. True, they are on the
same document, but they are not a license term. 

> They are certainly part of the
> document, if you tried to remove them then you'd be violating the
> FSF's copyright on the GPL.  

The GNU GPL (v3) is the text from "GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE" up to
and including "END OF TERMS AND CONDITIONS" on the page
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-3.0.txt
[the same applies to GPLv2]

Everything above and below (and to the side) of that is not
part of the license document. I don't see how a text that is
below a marker "END OF TERMS AND CONDITIONS" can be considered
part of a license.

Arnoud

-- 
Arnoud Engelfriet, Dutch & European patent attorney - Speaking only for myself
Patents, copyright and IPR explained for techies: http://www.iusmentis.com/
              Arnoud blogt nu ook: http://blog.iusmentis.com/