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Re: [tdf-discuss] Copyright Assignments & the Document Foundation


Il 01/11/2010 20.50, BRM ha scritto:
While IANAL, to my understanding at least the US requires explicit documentation
of copyright assignment.
So a license stating such would not work.

In many countries, software licenses are considered contracts (by law or jurisprudence) and *must* be accepted before having legal validity.

The scheme is:

developer <--agreement--> distributor <--agreement--> user

The modalities of agreement change from country to country: written acceptation for formal existence of the contract, written acceptation for its use as an evidence in a trial, oral acceptation for formal existence of the contract, and many other formalities that surely exist, especially in extra-UE and common law countries.

Then, there is the overly important legal issue of what national copyright law is applicable to the code.

Let's say that the national law of the contributor forbids any oral or implicit transmission of copyright rights. What happens to his/her contribution?

In his/her country, that transmission would be simply unlawful and therefore void (or something equivalent to void). Afterwards, that contributor signs a contract with a corporation or individual and gives his/her copyright up.

What happens to the poor distributor (TDF or others) who bases his *presumed* distribution rights on a void oral agreement and is sued from such corporation or individual? No good things, be sure. :'(

I've already suggested that if the copyright assignment is considered a too heavy burden, it should be asked to the contributor at least a statement that clearly affirms his/her absolute copyright rights for the contribution (nobody else can claim nothing about the contribution) and includes a indemnity clause ("clausola di manleva" in my language) in the unlucky case what he/she stated it isn't true and somebody else has valid legal rights for the contribution.

A "no signature involved, whatsoever" approach is just too risky, IMO.

Of course, distributors *can* risk if they want.
--
Gianluca Turconi

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