GPL and Author law

Loic Dachary loic at
Mon Jun 24 10:11:25 UTC 2002

Rudy Gevaert writes:
 > Hallo,
 > I have a little question concerning the GPL.
 > As stated in the Berner convention about the author law, you have two
 > kind of rights in the author law: the moral rights and the ability
 > rights(? the right of reproduction, public announce right, ...).
 > You can give away your ability rights, but you always get to keep your
 > moral rights.  But what when I release my software under the GPL?

	The Berne convention
(see also contracting parties


Article 6bis

[Moral Rights: 1. To claim authorship; to object to certain
modifications and other derogatory actions; 2. After the author's
death; 3. Means of redress]

      (1) Independently of the author's economic rights, and even
          after the transfer of the said rights, the author shall have
          the right to claim authorship of the work and to object to
          any distortion, mutilation or other modification of, or
          other derogatory action in relation to, the said work, which
          would be prejudicial to his honor or reputation.

      (2) The rights granted to the author in accordance with the
          preceding paragraph shall, after his death, be maintained,
          at least until the expiry of the economic rights, and shall
          be exercisable by the persons or institutions authorized by
          the legislation of the country where protection is
          claimed. However, those countries whose legislation, at the
          moment of their ratification of or accession to this Act,
          does not provide for the protection after the death of the
          author of all the rights set out in the preceding paragraph
          may provide that some of these rights may, after his death,
          cease to be maintained.

      (3) The means of redress for safeguarding the rights granted by
          this Article shall be governed by the legislation of the
          country where protection is claimed.

	Some countries such as the US made an exception that
invalidates Article 6bis. In other countries such as France the author
of a program cannot, under any circumstances, transmit her moral
rights to anyone. Publishing a software under the GNU GPL in France, for
instance, has no effect on the moral rights. The Berne convention allows
the authors to use their moral rights in every countries that did not
discard the Article 6bis.

	A lawyer can confirm this if needed, with a wording that is 
possibly more convincing ;-)


Loic   Dachary  loic at
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75010    Paris         T: 33 1 42 45 07 97          loic at
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