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Joint Authors and "Nonexclusive" Licenses Re: Transfer of copyright on death

## DISCLAIMER.  The following is not legal advice, but a
general recitation of the law.  Seek counsel of an
attorney in your jurisdiction for legal advice.

 --- Kalle Kivimaa <kalle.kivimaa@iki.fi> からのメッセー
> Andrew Stribblehill <a.d.stribblehill@durham.ac.uk>
> writes:
> > The sole maintainer collaborated with another
> author in writing the
> > program, and they have joint copyright. He would
> like to get it
> > relicenced under a standard licence but the other
> author has now
> > died. Is there any way to get it changed?

Joint authorship is defined in U.S. law inthe Copyright
act and requires intent by the parties to make a unitary
work that is inseparable or interdependent parts.  17 USC
101.  There's a classic case that discusses the intent and
other elements regarding a play about Jackie "MOMS"
Mabley.  Childress v. Taylor, 945 F.2d 500 (2nd Cir.

It looks like the authors might have been in a U.K.
jurisdiction.  You might look around at this UK link and
note the distinction with the US statutory approach. 

That's the law on Joint Authorship.  Assuming a US outcome
you might consider the following:

Joint authors may make all the "nonexclusive" licenses
they like.  Perhaps the surviving authors be interested in
this aspect.  Reading on MySQL and other "dual-licensing"
schemes might be useful for the surviving author.

Consider also that any exclusive license must be (have
been) in writing and with the agreement of all the joint
authors.  Perhaps the surviving author would be interested
in free software license grants on exclusive and
non-exclusive basis?

Also consider joint authorship is informed by property law
concepts of "tenancy in common" but there are also some
statutory gotchas regarding termination renewal and such
that relate to survivorships.  I can provide you some
citiations is you'd be interested in doing some more

Good luck.  Mail me directly if anyone would like more on
this subject.

James Miller

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