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Re: Bug#317359: kde: ..3'rd "Help"->"About $KDE-app" tab calls the GPL "License Agreement", ie; a contract.

On 7/13/05, Sean Kellogg <skellogg@u.washington.edu> wrote:
> On Wednesday 13 July 2005 05:10 pm, Rich Walker wrote:
> > Given that Debian is a global distribution, perhaps your question
> > should reference something other than local law?
> >
> > I checked '"106(1)" rights' on Google, and it appears to be a US legal
> > concept. As far as the other 6.1 billion of us go, what is our position?
> Umm...  you'll excuse me for only being a trained expert on one set of
> copyright laws.  Foolish me for only spending $30,000 to be trained in US
> law.  If others want to contribute non-US law, but all means, but I'm only
> going to speak to what I have knowledge in.

And you'll excuse me for not being a trained expert on any.  :-)  But
if you are fortunate, as I am, to live in a country where the rule of
law is not a total fiction, then you can probably get access to the
primary literature -- rulings issued by courts with appellate
jurisdiction.  That concept is by no means unique to common law
countries; it goes back at least to Pontius Pilate's day and has
modern analogues from Iran to Irkutsk.

As Rich posted from .uk, he needn't go so far afield; recent appellate
decisions are available at
http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/HMCSJudgments/Search.do .  Looks to
me like appeals in copyright infringement cases are generally heard in
the High Court of Justice, Chancery Division.  Picking the first such
case that comes to hand (Fraser-Woodward v. BBC), I observe precedents
drawn also from the Queen's Bench, the Australian Court system, and a
couple of other appellate courts, as well as the relevant statutes; I
see no obvious equivalent to Nimmer on Copyright (the standard US
secondary source), but there probably is one, if you like having
Virgil handy when visiting the Inferno.

Anyway, my point is that reading the law for yourself is fun and easy,
once you have straight the distinction between the primary literature
(appellate decisions and the occasional lower court decision that they
cite as being particularly persuasive) and all of the rest (statutes
included; interpreting them without reference to the judicial record
is a mug's game).  Learn your local legal lingo, watch out for
precedents that have since been overruled by a higher court or
replaced by new legislation, and whatever you do hire a real lawyer if
you are ever so unfortunate as to wind up in court.

- Michael

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