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Re: Freaky copyright laws [was: SUN RPC code is DFSG-free]

Branden Robinson wrote:
> On Sun, Aug 24, 2003 at 10:29:40PM +0100, Andrew Suffield wrote:
> > Good grief, there are jurisdictions where copyright law follows the
> > first-finder-is-keeper system used by patents? I'm not sure that free
> > software can work at all with laws like that.
> > 
> > Do you have a list? I want to avoid visiting such countries.
> I thought basically every place outside the U.S. was like that.  Several
> times when the U.S. Supreme Court decision of _Feist v. Rural Telephone
> Service Co._ has come up, it's been ridiculed by some Europeans.

That talked about databases, which is a separate legal right
that has nothing to do with copyright. And yes, that was purely
a lobbyist push by database producers. 

> Over in Europe, you can copyright a database of obvious facts, even if
> it isn't organized in a clever fashion.  

You do not copyright a database. You claim database rights on
such a database if you can prove a substantial investment in
time, effort or money for its creation. European countries also
have trademarks, which you can get even without being creative
and original. It's a different law.

> This is regarded as
> breathtakingly obvious by the Europeans on this list who are well up on
> EU copyright law, and breathtakingly wrong by Americans on this list who
> are well up on U.S. Copyright law.

That's because most Europeans realize it was a separate Directive
that established database rights. You keep seeing it as a
copyright thing and applying copyright standards. Of course that's
going to produce absurd results. 

Nevertheless, computer programs are definitely not covered by
the database directive and so cannot claim database protection.
That means you're back at the 1991 computer program directive, 
which explicitly puts software under copyright. And independent
re-creation is allowed under European copyright law.


Arnoud Engelfriet, Dutch patent attorney - Speaking only for myself
Patents, copyright and IPR explained for techies: http://www.iusmentis.com/

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