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Re: Advise about missing copyright info



On Mon, 24 Sep 2007 15:48:17 +1000 Ben Finney wrote:

[...]
> Florian Weimer <fw@deneb.enyo.de> writes:
[...]
> > that a requirement for precise
> > information on the copyright holder fails the Dissident Test.
> 
> I've not seen the Dissident test applied that way.
> 
> The Dissident test applies to whether the *recipient* of the work can
> exercise their freedoms, including the freedom to modify and/or
> redistribute, without being forced to personally identify themselves.

Exactly.

> 
> The *copyright holder* can't expect to remain anonymous and still be
> identified as the copyright holder. (Copyright laws might nevertheless
> assert that an anonymous entity can hold copyright, but that's beside
> the point here.)

No, wait, your parenthetical is *precisely* the point.
Copyright laws generally allow copyright holders to stay
anonymous or pseudonymous.
Obviously, if you want to sue someone for copyright infringement,
you have to (at least partially) disclose your identity when
you interact with courts and bring evidence that you are really
the copyright holder who has hidden his/her identity behind
the "anonymous" term or behind a specific pseudonym.
However, as long as you are not sueing anyone, you can hold a copyright
on a work and still be anonymous or pseudonymous.

As an aside, please note that anonymity and pseudonymity are
two different, though related, concepts.

> 
> I don't see that the Dissident test applies to the copyright holder
> (as opposed to recipients of the work), nor that it's non-free to
> require the copyright holder to be personally identifiable.

This last one seems to contradict your first statement about the
Dissident test: when one modifies a work and redistributes the modified
version, he/she automatically holds a copyright on part of the modified
work, as long as the modification involved a significant amount of
creativity (well, unless he/she is working for hire on behalf of
a company or organization, which holds the economic rights then,
while moral rights are still his/hers...).

Hence, if it's non-free to require modifiers/redistributors to disclose
their identity, it's equally non-free to require the same of copyright
holders.


We can maybe agree that Debian should try and avoid distributing
packages whenever there are no means to get in touch with the copyright
holders: but on practical grounds, not on the basis of freeness
considerations.
And anyway, please note that one thing is having means to get in touch
with someone, a completely different beast is forcing him/her to
disclose his/her identity: the existence of nym servers proves that
you can effectively hide your identity, but still be contacted by
other people.


Explicit disclaimers: this is just my opinion.
IANAL, TINLA, IANADD, TINASOTODP.



-- 
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