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Re: GFDL and Anonymity --- another problem?

On Thursday, Oct 9, 2003, at 11:49 US/Eastern, Mathieu Roy wrote:

A license is valid because there is a known copyright holder that
explicitely said that his work can be distributed under this license.

So I wonder how it would be possible for a license to be valid with an
anonymous copyright holder.

I'd think so. Certainly the copyright is valid, and people can and do release, e.g., books under pseudonyms.

If nothing else, at least the GPL allows me to put my changes in the public domain and still distribute them.

The copyright holder can be an individual or a group, but in any case
an entity recognized by the law.

Sure. But he doesn't have to identify himself, and certainly not by his actual name.

Please, take a look a the section "How to Apply These Terms to Your
New Programs" of the GPLv2.

I'm talking about modifications to a program, not an original program, so this isn't quite relevant, but...

one line to give the program's name and an idea of what it does.
        Copyright (C) yyyy  name of author

The only effect of leaving off the proper copyright notice (in the US, at least) would be that people could more easily claim innocent (did not know work was under copyright) infringement.

        Also add information on how to contact you by electronic and
        paper mail.

Electronic mail can be fairly (or even completely) anonymous; and personally, I've never added a postal address to my GPL notices. I doubt it really matters.

I would not be surprised if in many countries software with no author
is in fact a proprietary software.

I have no idea, though I don't see why that would be the case. It could just be that I'm a little biased by the US's --- and, indeed, the Internet's --- tradition of anonymous and pseudonymous works.

[Funny to see how some people here are more interested in finding new
issues before making any constructive proposal to fix the existing

This is quite a low blow. I'd like to remind you that I was (and still am) willing to work on the committee that is working to rectify the GFDL; however, there are currently no open positions.

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