Re: forwarded message from Jeff Licquia
> Date: Fri, 19 Jul 2002 12:19:07 -0500
> From: Branden Robinson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> 1) Names and titles are not copyrightable. If you want intellectual
> property protection in a name, you need a trade mark, service mark,
> certification mark, or similar instrument.
I afraid this is not -- so at least for some jurisdictions. I am not a
lawyer, but it happened that I have been closely watching a lawsuit in
Russia, where the plaintiff alleged that title is an important part of
a copyrighted work. In other word, the theory was that if I make a
movie "Moby Dick" completely unrelated to the famous novel, I am
probably fine, but if I publish a *novel* "Moby Dick", I might violate
copyright, especially if my novel has important parallels.
> 2) Free Software copyright licenses should not attempt to achieve via
> their license what would not ordinarily be achievable through copyright
I can only quote GPL here:
5. You are not required to accept this License, since you have
not signed it. However, nothing else grants you permission to
modify or distribute the Program or its derivative works. These
actions are prohibited by law if you do not accept this License.
Therefore, by modifying or distributing the Program (or any work
based on the Program), you indicate your acceptance of this
License to do so, and all its terms and conditions for copying,
distributing or modifying the Program or works based on it.
Modification and redistribution is expressly forbidden by the
copyright law unless specifically granted. If the license grants this
right under certain conditions, these conditions apply.
> law. I do not know whether a court would uphold a copyright license
> that attempted to enforce a "poor man's trademark" by conditionally
> extending the license to a party contingent on that party's not using a
> particular name or title in a particular way. I do believe, however,
> that it is illegitimate for a copyright license to attempt to this, and
> it is especially unacceptable for a "Free Software" license to do this.
> I feel this way for the same reason that I believe that a DFSG-free
> license should not be contingent on the licensee obeying the laws of
> some jurisdiction, praying to Mecca five times daily, or refraining from
> kicking their dog. A licensee may nor may not be in sympathy with any
> or all of these sentiments, but the simple fact is that they are outside
> the scope of copyright and should remain so. A work that is Free
> Software must be free to everyone who does not infringe its copyright by
> engaging in unauthorized distribution. A work that is Free Software
> should not discriminate against those who engage in insider trading,
> smoke marijuana, infringe the copyright on Microsoft Windows, infringe
> the copyright on some other work of Free Software, abuse animals, eat
> meat, chew tobacco, chain themselves to trees, or change lanes without
GPL discriminates agains those, who want to take somebody else's
programs from the free software world. Some people think this is
illegitimate and cannot be achieved through copyright laws. I along
with Stallman think this reasoning is wrong. From the legal standpoint
an author can put virtually any conditions on redistribution. If some
work can be redistributed only by Christian Scientists, it will be
A moral standpoint is different. Certain restrictions, while legally
permissible, might be inconsistent with the understanding of the word
"free" -- we are speaking on free licenses here. Well, your
understanding of this word is different from mine. This is fine.
A good marriage would be between a blind wife and deaf husband.
-- Michel de Montaigne
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