[wp-docs] More on Copyright
ryan at boren.nu
Fri Sep 23 21:45:28 GMT 2005
> I'm like a dog with a bone on this one.
> We seem to have established that approaching the FSF is a bad thing.
> As it stands, they are having some sort of staff change so there is a
> queue, and unless things change, I will decline to pursue the matter
> with them when they reply.
> But there remain unanswered issues. Now before you leap all over this
> screaming, just try and understand that all I am after is clarity. I'm
> not someone who has just popped up and started pointing fingers - I
> would hope my track record of helping shows I'm on the side of the
> good guys. This is not a personal agenda. I happen to think that Codex
> and it's license were not given due attention at the earliest time,
> and that we now have a potentially messy situation. That 'due
> attention' is no-one's fault necessarily but the last few threads here
> must surely show that all is not as well and clear-cut as it should be.
> So, with that in mind, if I am not clear, please ask me to elaborate.
> I write a page in Codex.
> I retain copyright of that page, but I am allowing it's use under the
> terms of the GPL.
> Bob comes along, takes my page, puts it in his book, credits me and
> the source and sells his book. That's fine. We are all happy.
> John comes along, takes my page, puts it his book and sells it. No
> credit. No link to the source. Just my page. Who looks after my
> interest there ?
Vanity links are not comptaible with open source licenses. The GPL
requires that copyright headers be maintained; that's about it in terms
of credit. It's about the source being free.
This comes up all the time with open media (as opposed to open source)
folks. Open source folks have been at it for a good while and have
tread this ground. Advertising clauses, vanity links, and such are a no
no. It's about the code being free, and such links impinge freedom.
Open source folks worry more about maintaining open distribution and
keeping the code free. Open media folks, on the other hand, are
preoccupied with credit. I think there was a conference recently where
open source and open meda folks got together to talk about these
cultural differences. It can sometimes be hard to get open media that
is compatible with open source. That's becoming a bigger problem as the
two intertwine more.
> The way I see it, I'm currently on my own. We all are.
It's up to you to protect your interests, as with anything.
> We all have copyright over our own work, but I don't see that when I
> wrote anything that I gave my permission for someone else to look
> after my copyright interests.
That's what lawyers are for. If you ever need one, hire one. Get one
who knows IP really well. I've been in court with some completely
clueless lawyers, who were on our side, alas.
> I don't have any chance of looking after my interests though do I ?
Of course you do. Sue the bastards! Enlist the various watchdog groups
to your cause. People successfully enforce their GPL rights all the time.
" As a copyright license the GPL is absolutely solid. That's why I've
been able to enforce it dozens of times over nearly ten years, without
ever going to court."
> So when I said that the FSF should be considered, I was not trying to
> do anything more than have a single enforceable point of ownership -
> something we do not currently have.
Understandable, but I don't think it's particularly necessary or worth
it. Copyright assignment tends to drive contributors off and adds
There are several good resources that cover copyright and open source.
I follow groklaw all the time.
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