Re: English licenses on non English speaking countries
The main problem here (in my opinion) is that we cannot
distribute a program under a new license. Only the author can. And
translating a license is making a new license...
In many cases you have also major practical problems. For
instance, translating GPL into Spanish, and making it the official
license for Spansih-speaking states could be difficult. You have to
make it compatible with the legislations of more than 20 states. In
fact, even studing the legal implications in just one country could be
expensive, at least. And it is not simple to get that translation
approved by the original author. She has to be sure that the
translation means exactly what it means in English...
So, we better find a way to enforce the English-version of the
license, perhaps with an acompanying version in other languages, just
for user information, and without legal value.
As long as I know, the international legislation on copyright
should be enough to grant the validity of the English version
everywhere. The rationale is as follows: By default, you have no right
to distribute, modify, etc. a copyrighted work. *No right*. Only an
specific license can give you that right. So, you can either feel
comfortable with the license, in any language it is written, or just
ignore it. But by ignoring it, you can only do whatever you can do "by
default": no distribution, no modification, etc.
So, in my opinion (I'm not a lawyer, anyway), there is no
problem at all. This is the most common opinion I've heard of.
WRT the specific case of a license not written in Spanish
being enforceable in Spain, I guess that's only applicable to items
directed to end-users, and sold in Spain. I mean, that when you (as a
regular consumer) buy an item in Spain, any terms related to the
transaction must be available in Spanish (or any other of the official
languages where applicable). That's for sure not applicable to usual
contracts between companies (otherwise, European-level commerce, for
instance, would be almost impossible). I guess it is also not
applicable to licenses of software packages, but I'm not sure of it.
We in Spain are also looking for lawyers who can help us in
these directions, but it is being difficult :-( Please, let us know of
any progress you can make... (BTW, the same to anyone in an EU
country, since we should have similar legislation at this respect).
Marcelo E. Magallon writes:
> [ Don't Cc: me, I'm on -legal. ]
> this is the best place I can think of to ask this question ...
> I have read several times that some countries don't accept legal
> documents (such as licenses, please correct me if a license doesn't
> fall into this category) in languages other than their official one.
> In particular I've read this might be is the case in Spain, France
> and Germany.
> The local group (Costa Rica) is researching this issue, but we are
> sincerely at lost. I know Costa Rica is a party to the Berne
> convention, but it isn't a party to the Hague Convention (don't know
> if that's relevant). We are asking here if it's valid to release a
> program under a lincense written in English (GPL) for which there's
> no official translation. We are also researching what options are
> there (I've suggested paying for a certified translation of the GPL
> to be used as a _reference_, not a replacement)
> We have handed the GPL to a lawyer here (she's working pro bono), so
> she can evaluate the validity of the license under costarrican laws,
> and the first thing she asked for was a Spanish translation. :-(
> We will apprecciate any pointers,
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