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

On Tue, Aug 26, 2003 at 02:05:54AM +0200, Wouter Verhelst wrote:
> On Mon, Aug 25, 2003 at 12:48:42PM -0500, Steve Langasek wrote:
> [database protection]
> > Well, regardless of whether it's *called* copyright, it is a copy-right
> > -- by virtue of the fact that it's an exclusive right granted to the
> > creator to control the creation of copies of the work.

> That's not a very accurate definition of copyright, is it? "If it
> involves controlling copies, surely there's copyright involved as well?"

Of course it's accurate.  That's what copyright *means*.

> There are quite a few differences between copyright on the one hand, and
> database protecting laws on the other:

s/copyright/the set of local laws labelled "copyright"/

Naturally the database directive isn't commonly referred to as a
copyright.  If it were, then someone might catch on that it's completely
inconsistent with the rest of copyright law, and wonder why databases
should enjoy such special protection.  So the law is very carefully
positioned as being separate from copyright; its purpose is,
nevertheless, to control the creation of copies of works.

> * If you create a database, you have the right to
>   - forbid reuse and/or requesting information from the database.
>     Obviously, some people want to make some money out of creating a
>     database :-)

I don't understand this.  It's self-evident to me that you have the
right to not provide information to people if you so choose.  How does
this part of the law change anything?

>   - Control the first sale inside the EU. However, you cannot forbid
>     further sales; once the database has been sold inside the EU (with
>     the permission of the creator of the database, obviously), the
>     creator loses his right to control further selling of the database.
>     Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this is not the case for
>     copyrighted works.

It is the case under any reasonable copyright regime.  There are efforts
now by various copyright holders to restrict the right of first sale
through the enactment of shrink wrap licenses with the buyer, but at
least in the US, copyright law still says that you can re-sell a copy of
a work that's in your possession.  You just can't copy it.

> Copyright isn't just about "controlling who gets to copy what". It's
> also about protecting the original author.

Under *your* copyright regime.  In any case, those particular features
would be more accurately described by the French term "droit d'auteur"
rather than "copyright".  In English at least, the term "copyright"
pretty clearly refers to the creation of copies.

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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