[Fsfe-france-gpl] Re: GPL and Author law

Mel. Clement Fontaine melanie at fr.alcove.com
Mon Jun 24 09:10:51 UTC 2002


First, please note that the Berne convention applies to states and 
not individuals. You have to check your own country law to know the 
Berne convention application in your country.

For exemple, in France, you keep your moral rights. However, the 
moral rights on sofware is very small : you have the right to claim 
that you are the author of the sofware and the right to refuse to 
disclose your sofware.

This rule always applies whatever license you choose. The GPL reminds 
the first point of the rule (you are the author).As soon as you 
release under the GPL or under any other license, you disclose your 

Mélanie Clément-Fontaine
Doctorante en droit privé

>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 
>	says:
>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 ;-)
>	Cheers,
>Loic   Dachary         http://www.dachary.org/  loic at dachary.org
>12 bd  Magenta         http://www.senga.org/      loic at senga.org
>75010    Paris         T: 33 1 42 45 07 97          loic at gnu.org
>         GPG Public Key: http://www.dachary.org/loic/gpg.txt
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