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Re: New 'Public Domain' Licence

On Wednesday 08 June 2005 05:57 am, Michael K. Edwards wrote:
> On 6/8/05, Glenn Maynard <glenn@zewt.org> wrote:
> > "Published interface"?  Again, "integrate into my software", not "link
> > against a published interface".  Copy code directly into my program, and
> > allow the works to merge and integrate.
> >
> > Another major, obvious example is forks.
> If you truly wish to do so, you may strip your heirs, in your last
> will and testament, of statutory termination rights, by the simple
> expedient of ratifying an existing assignment of copyright to a
> corporate entity run by the benevolent dictator of your choice.  You
> don't even have to trust that benevolent dictator beyond the point at
> which your work is first published under their copyright notice and a
> sufficiently permissive license, as long as that license is contained
> in an offer of bilateral contract such as the GPL.  (Unilateral grants
> of license, with no return consideration, are terminable at will in
> many jurisdictions irrespective of their ostensible term.)

Sorry but this won't work either.  The statue is quite clear that the 
termination right is non-assignable, even through a will.  If you have a 
surviving spouse, children, or other "issue" then they will get the 
termination right under standard intestancy rules.  Even when all of those 
folks are dead, the termination right cannot be transfered by a will, it goes 
into the hands of your estate's executor.

> On the other hand, nothing but death (or a certificate of mental
> incompetence, but that's a sidetrack I'm disinclined to follow) can
> legally stop someone from changing the terms of his or her will.  So
> unless a person outlives his or her termination interest, or has died
> and his or her will (containing the above measures) has been through
> probate, you can't be sure that a grant of copyright license is
> irrevocable.  Unless, of course, that person goes to the trouble of
> setting up a corporate shell and handling the accounting properly to
> substantiate a claim that his or her work was "made for hire" to begin
> with.
> > > For 17 USC 203 (b)(1) grants you the right to continue distribution of
> > > that derivative work after the termination becomes effective; and a
> > > sane court is likely to hold that localized bug fixes thereafter do
> > > not constitute "preparation ... of other derivative works" in excess
> > > of this privilege.
> >
> > If the right to prepare derivative works is revoked, the work is clearly
> > non-free, and we again have a failure of the tentacles of evil test.
> Current US law does not permit a 32-year-old man to make a promise of
> eternal copyright license (with respect to a work not made for hire)
> binding on his 69-year-old future self.  This is generally held to be
> a liberty granted to independent authors and artists (and their heirs)
> in recognition of both their courage and their improvidence.  It is
> quite futile to protest this feature of the law, as it dates from 1978
> and is easily circumvented (if you really want to) with a little
> planning and competent legal advice.

Yeah, don't know what you mean here...  I can't see how any amount of legal 
planning is going to avoid future-selves/heirs from exercising their 
termination rights.

> In any case, a limited exception is provided so that authors of
> licensed derivative works are not robbed of similar liberties with
> respect to works they have already created.  So if RMS or his personal
> heir decides in 2020 to exercise his right to terminate, as of 2022,
> the assignment of his copyright in the 1985 edition of GNU Emacs to
> the FSF, those of us still alive will get to find out how much
> reimplementation can be done in two years and/or how far 17 USC
> 203(b)(1) privileges with respect to a still-evolving fork can be
> stretched.  :-)
> Cheers,
> - Michael


p.s. I very much believe that all residences of a jurisdiction should be able 
to fully discuss the implication of the law and how it should be applied...  
but if it counts for anything, I am just finishing my 2nd year in law school 
having aced all of my IP course work.  

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