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Re: [OT] Droit d'auteur vs. free software?

> > The main problem with moral rights seems to be inalienability. As far as
> > I understand it, artists can decide at the time of the use of the work
> > whether they believe it is prejudicial to their "honor and reputation."
> That's a misunderstanding. It is not the artist who decides this.
> Sure, the artist may have an *opinion* about it, but the law calls for
> an *objective* judgement. And if the use does not objectively violate
> the artistic character of the work, the artist's opinion will not help
> him in court.

Thanks for the clarification.

> > They cannot promise to never raise such an objection. You seem to be
> > implying that by applying the GPL to a work, the developer irrevocably
> > divests herself from certain moral rights.
> No. The moral rights still exist, but they must be interpreted in the
> context of the particular work. If the particular work is created to
> be free, the moral right becomes harder to violate.
> > Second, I would imagine that a developer can argue or reinterpret
> > their initial intent.
> Possibly, but that is not a case of moral rights - it is just a matter
> of conventional contract interpretation.

Yes, but a free software developer cannot walk into court and argue
that they did not intend to grant the right to redistribute -- free
software licenses are clear on that point, but generally silent on moral
rights issues. At the very least, the GPL and most other free software
licenses are be problematic in moral rights jurisdictions simply because
the developer's intentions with respect to moral rights are not made
clear by those licenses. The trouble is, developers choose free software
licenses for all kinds of reasons, including legal necessity (e.g. when
they derrive from a GPL'd work).

> > For example, they may never have thought that a particular piece of
> > code could find its way into a DRM system.
> Stupidity does not create rights. (Opposite in some other parts of the
> world where one can become rich simply by being too stupid to imagine
> that coffee might be hot).

Say hypothetically that the LAME developers have an artistic vision to
allow music fans to freely (as in freedom) rip music from the CDs the
purchase. Universal Records uses LAME to make copy protected CDs (see
http://news.com.com/2100-1023-277197.html). How is it stupid if the LAME
developers walk into a moral rights jurisdiction and ask Universal to

Best regards,
Greg Pomerantz

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