GPL and Moral Rights
eda-qa at disemia.com
Fri Aug 29 20:34:40 UTC 2003
On my recent quest to compare contracts, licenses, and the GPL, I
stumbled across something that is disconcerting to me: the moral rights
provided by the Berne Convention seem to impose limits on the freedom
provided by the GPL.
The GPL does not appear to make any mention of moral rights, so
according to the convention (and some law resources I checked) the moral
rights stay with the author (even in the case of copyright assignment).
As stated, the concerning bit is the author's ability "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."
Best as I can tell, what might be accepted as prejudicial may vary
greatly from country to country. This of course makes the problem
worse, as the GPL does not join licenses, when distributing the linux
kernel, you actually have a license from every copyright holder
contributing to that kernel.
What is to prevent any one contributor to a large GPL project from
objecting on moral grounds and thereby halting any
distribution/modification? Though our opinions to such objections might
vary, I would tend to assume that software is open to such objections.
More information about the Discussion