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Re: If not GFDL, then what?

Edmund GRIMLEY EVANS wrote:
> I think the "first sale" doctrine is just a USA thing[*], and I don't
> know much about it, but I think the idea is that selling a hard-copy
> book second-hand does not count as copying or distributing and can
> therefore be done without permission from the copyright holder, so the
> reseller would not be bound by the GPL.

European copyright law has what's known as the "community
exhaustion" doctrine. This doctrine says that your copyrights
on copies you release (or authorize to be released) in the EU
are "exhausted". In other words, you can't enforce them anymore
against people who resell these copies.

It only applies to resell of physical copies, not to things
like reading them on the radio or turning them into plays. It
also does not apply if the copies are put on the market outside
the EU. See for example Article 4 of Directive 2001/29/EC

I'm not sure it is at all clear whether this applies to software
made available on physical carriers. Often it is argued that
software is not "sold" within the meaning of this doctrine
but rather it is licensed. Others consider the carrier with
software to be a product that is sold because it is transferred
to someone else in return for money. The license is then simply
the general terms & conditions of the sale.

However, it's fairly established that if you modify the work
before reselling it, exhaustion does not apply. 


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

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