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



neroden@twcny.rr.com (Nathanael Nerode)  wrote on 03.05.03 in <3EB41864.2010209@twcny.rr.com>:

> Basically, it's a free speech issue.  The concept that authors and their
> heirs have inherent rights of control over their writings, in eternity
> (which is the basic concept of the system) is effectively in opposition
> to freedom of speech, as it requires all ideas to be recast so as to
> avoid the use of the forms used by anyone else, throughout history.

Which parts of Europe are we talking about here?

As far as I can tell, German "Urheberrecht" is pretty close to the Berne  
Convention (we were, after all, among the first nations to ratify it) and  
does not seem to recognize any such eternal rights.

All our constitution ("Grundgesetz") says about it is that it is the sole  
responsibility of the federal level (i.e. out of bounds for the states)  
(73(9)).

As for the "Urheberrecht" itself, the key points are:

(1) Die Urheber von Werken der Literatur, Wissenschaft und Kunst genießen  
für ihre Werke Schutz nach Maßgabe dieses Gesetzes.

(The originators of works of literature, science, and art, enjoy  
protection for their works in accordance with this law.)

(28(1)) Das Urheberrecht ist vererblich.

(Copyright is inheritable.)

(64) Das Urheberrecht erlischt siebzig Jahre nach dem Tode des Urhebers.

(Copyright ceases 70 years after the death of the originator.)

[Incidentally, I believe these points are substantially unchanged from the  
state of law in the Weimar Republic, i.e. before WW II, long before the US  
recognized the Berne Convention; including the number of 70 years (Berne  
says 50). That is, the number is neither an invention of Disney nor (as is  
sometimes claimed) a way for Bavaria to keep rights for "Mein Kampf" - the  
number was already in effect when that book was written, and has not  
changed in the meantime. I suspect it is older than (working) digital  
computers.]

All in the same law. I don't see anything eternal here. And in any case,  
if it were about natural rights it would belong in the rights part of the  
constitution, and it's not there. (All that says about it is that art is  
free (from censors, that is).)

The right to freely express your opinion is a fundamental right. Copyright  
is just a law. (Which means that it's rather hard for copyright to intrude  
on free speech, of course.)

Yet this law does recognize some rights that cannot be conferred to  
someone else (except by inheritance).

MfG Kai



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