GPL and Author law

Arnoud Galactus Engelfriet galactus at
Tue Jun 25 13:59:04 UTC 2002

Rudy Gevaert wrote:
> On Mon, Jun 24, 2002 at 12:25:47PM +0200, Loic Dachary wrote:
> > Focusing on US law only would have defeated its international
> > applicability.  It does not talk about moral rights because there is
> > no need to.
> Thanks to everyone who has replied to my question.  I haven't had the
> time to read mr. Jaeger his paper (due to exams), but after reading the
> thread can I say: when using the GPL you can still benefit from the
> moral laws (appealing in your country)?

Yes, assuming your country's laws recognize moral rights in
software. It is forbidden to require someone to give up his
moral rights in the Netherlands and Belgium, at least the
right to object to modifications that hurt your reputation
as a coder.

> Thus so it overrules the GPL?  E.g I write the code for a webforum, then
> I can take action against a rascist website using my forum?

No, you can't force them to stop using the webforum. You can
stop them from advertising your webforum software as being
written by a white supremacist coder, or from adding routines
that automatically add racist remarks to what people say.

The standard is whether your reputation as author would be
hurt or damaged by the actions the third party took. The fact
that they're using your software doesn't generally hurt your
reputation. Bundling your picture browsing software with a
collection of Nazi propaganda pictures might.



Arnoud Engelfriet, (almost) Dutch patent attorney - Speaking only for myself
Patents, copyright and IPR explained for techies:

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