On Thu, Jun 22, 2006 at 02:25:36PM +0200, Nicolas Mailhot wrote:
In all continental Europe what you call copyrights has historically
derived from the rights of book writers (civil rights), while in the USA &
England they derive from a corpus of law which was designed to formalize
assign copyrights to editors (monetize IP).
The international conventions have tried to merge both approaches, but you
should be aware their roots are very different and neither the USA nor
Europe decided to dump its maw to take the others.
Just as any other civil right european author rights are basically
inalienable. While american copyrights can always be sold, you only need
to put enough money on the table.
This is, AIUI, not quite correct. The French civil law tradition of
droits d'auteur includes both copyrights in the Anglo-Saxon sense of
economic rights (droits patrimoniaux) as well as moral rights (droits moraux)
which cannot be assigned to another and are inalienable. The US and several
other countries with common law-derived conceptions of copyrights opt out of
the moral rights provision of the Berne Convention; among other things,
the protection of honor and reputation and the right to respect of the
work violate certain First Amendment conceptions of free speech, parody,
and fair use in the United States.
The economic rights that mimic the Anglo-Saxon conception of copyright can
be totally sold or assigned for enough money. Yet, the various inalienable
moral rights can in certain cases trump these economic rights. For
FOSS, the right to the respect of the work (droit au respect de l'intégrité
de l'oeuvre) can present a problem since the original author can prevent
any modification of his work, the right of attribution (droit de paternité)
could be interpreted as allowing an author to insist upon a version of
the BSD advertising clause, and the right of withdrawal (droit de retrait
et de repentir) which allows the author to prevent further reproduction or
distribution in exchange for financial compensation to the economic rights
holder could violate the GPL. It's also not clear how the financial
compensation necessary for free software would be calculated.
The right to the respect of the work could certainly be the biggest