Gian-Carlo Pascutto wrote:
I need your expertise of the GPL to understand something, Harm Geert : does the GPL implies the use of the AMERICAN "Copyright law" everywhere the GPL license is agreed upon, or does it rely on the local "copyright law" of the author of the GPLed program? If the later is the answer, then it would have very important consequences, as the American copyright law is actually an exception in the world (actually all anglo-saxon copyright law). For instance, in Europe we have a very different system. And in our systems, "inspired work" is punishable.
The GPL was written against the background of American copyright law, but has been found to be enforcable in Europe, which shouldn't be too surprising due to things like the Berne convention.
I believe your claim for "inspired works" is not relevant for computer software, see for example:
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/Lex ... 50:EN:HTML
2. Protection in accordance with this Directive shall apply to the expression in any form of a computer program. Ideas and principles which underlie any element of a computer program, including those which underlie its interfaces, are not protected by copyright under this Directive.
It's a bit hard to track which directive is implemented in which country, but in any case, you can clearly see that the intention in Europe is to make this NOT illegal.
It appears that I teach my students about this very law, and that you made a little misunderstanding, Gian-Carlo
Here, "copyrights" is synonymic of "litterary intellectual property", and must not be confused with the more general american "copyright law", this is why the 1st article details the notion : "copyrights, as literary works". Just an example so you see how different the "copyright law" quoted here is very different from the American copyright law : the Berne convention is quite old by our standards (end of the 19th century) and it was a first attempt to unify the various copyright laws. But the USA obtained to keep a quite different one. For instance, in our European copyright laws we aknowledge our authors both moral and patrimonial rights, while the moral rights just doesn't exist in the USA. One typical moral right is the right for an author to not have his work damaged : for instance, in Europe, the author of a book will always be able to keep an eye on the way a film-maker that bought the rights to adapt it will do it. In the US you can't, and sometimes your masterpiece will be butchered by Hollywood. Another difference between our systems and the American one is that in Europe you don't need to publish or register your work to get it protected by the law : it is protected as soon as you create it. In the USA, you must registered it (hence the " (c) with a registering number).
Both systems have their logics and plus/minus sides. But they DO are different. Still today.
Now, regarding the copyright laws for computer programs, in Europe, things are a bit different as, since the 80ies, most European countries (and this 1991 european directive tells the same story) that moral rights don't apply with computer program (UNLESS stipulated otherwise : so you can still ask in your distribution contract to keep your moral rights... good luck to find a distributor
Oups, ther I go.... lecturing again... don't start me! ^^