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

On Mon, May 12, 2003 at 09:13:23PM +0200, Bernhard R. Link wrote:

> It's assumed to be a right. Basic thing about rights (at least in German
> law, as far as I understand it) is that rights cannot be transfered.

> You can not tranfer your right to vote, your right to not be hurt nor
> any other right.

Yes, this is entirely reasonable.  Natural rights should be unalienable.

> Even your "copyright" can not be sold. The German
> analogon to a tranfer of copyright is a exclusive licence.

This, however, is an unfortunate defect of European legal theory.
Intellectual property is not property, and all rights pertaining to
ideas and their expression are artificial rights.  The limited
monopolies granted to creators are sometimes socially useful, but that
does not justify the claim that a person can *own* an idea.

> > > 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.

> Natural is a quite common description for something seen as so
> evident, that it needs no justification. So one can argue, if it
> is a natural right, but after I saw people pretending a right to
> own weapons this one is not funny at all.

It is not evident at all to me that anyone has a *right* to a positive
reputation; nor is it evident to me that protecting one's work from
alteration is the most effective way to ensure a good reputation.
Censoring all criticism of the work is certainly far more effective, so
why not regard "freedom from criticism" as a natural right?

> > 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.

> I think the direct and natural way to avoid damnifing contracts is to make
> them void. Laws need to be enforceable to be useful.

This law does so at the expense of other, valid motives -- such as Free

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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