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

On Mon, May 12, 2003 at 07:45:51PM +0200, Arnoud Galactus Engelfriet wrote:
> Thomas Bushnell, BSG wrote:
> > Arnoud Galactus Engelfriet <galactus@stack.nl> writes:
> > > Why do you think the concept is bogus? In principle I think it's
> > > a good idea to have something that prevents others from mutilating
> > > my work. The implementation sucks greatly though.

> > We already have that concept.  "Ownership".  We even have an extra
> > thing: "Copyright".  Both of these, under US law, are fully sufficient
> > to prevent others from "mutilating" your work without your consent.  

> If I transfer my copyright, I can not stop you from harming 
> my reputation.

No?  What can the new copyright holder do to harm your reputation that
you aren't protected from under other laws?  They can't claim that the
work is "Copyright Arnoud Engelfriet" if it isn't; nor can they try to
claim that you're the sole author if you aren't, or that you endorse
certain uses of the work if you don't.  There are already libel and
slander laws to prevent damaging a person's reputation through

> That's why the law has the extra provision that helps me protect my
> moral rights.

It has a superfluous provision that unnecessarily restricts the author's
freedom to form contracts.  It is as idiotic and misguided as the
attempts to criminalize the circumvention of technological safeguards in
the US.

> > Why this restriction on the rights of authors is called "authors'
> > rights" is beyond me.

> The author always retains the right to object to mutilations
> of the work. It's his natural right.

What a funny use of the term "natural" right.

> > I have little objection to legal protection for contracts, and even
> > things which swing the bar somewhat to make it "harder" for authors to
> > renounce such rights.  But the notion that they *cannot* be renounced
> > is ludicrous, and totally kills a jillion freedoms.

> The motivation for making them unrevokable is to prevent
> authors from being forced to accept unconditional surrender
> of their works.

I can think of plenty of more effective ways to prevent authors from
being *forced* to accept unconditional surrender of their works.
Providing authors with a better education when it comes to contract law,
for example, or promulgating alternate vectors for the publication of
works that don't involve currently-standard copyright contract terms.

> Then they could be made to look like total fools by the person
> acquiring their copyright, and they could not do anything about it.
> And yes, they could theoretically negotiate a transfer on the
> condition the other guy would not do that; but given the way copyright
> licensing works in practice the chance of that working is practically
> nil.

And why should the artist's short-sightedness be inflicted on everyone

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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