German software licensing law

Ben Finney ben at
Tue Sep 27 23:18:54 UTC 2005

On 27-Sep-2005, Seth Johnson wrote:
> Ciaran O'Riordan wrote:
> > Seth Johnson <seth.johnson at> writes:
> > > The GPL asserts authorial rights
> > No.  Authors assert authorial rights.
> :-)
> Sure.  The GPL is rights asserted by an author.

No. The copyright notice is the assertion of rights. The GPL is a
grant of license to others.

> > The GPL exempts you from restrictions (mostly caused by copyright
> > law), not rights.
> No.  The GPL is a certain way of asserting rights.  Yep, by an
> author.

The copyright statement is a way of asserting rights. The GPL is a
way of granting specific freedoms -- i.e., license to perform certain

Note that the GPL doesn't contain the copyright statement.

> > For example, if copyright only applied when ownership was
> > registered their ownership with a government, the GPL still
> > wouldn't require consent from anyone.
> The beauty of the GPL is that it doesn't assert that the rights in
> question are natural or fundamental ones; it simply asserts the
> statutory rights that are accorded by the law.

It describes them, redundantly (section 5); the rights are asserted
with the copyright statement from a particular copyright holder.

> The GPL is able to stipulate the freedoms and have them apply,
> because of its use of the author's statutory right to control
> derivative works.

With the caveat of s/control derivative works/control further
copying and distribution of derivative works/, I agree.

 \             "Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you to |
  `\      recognize a mistake when you make it again."  -- Franklin P. |
_o__)                                                            Jones |
Ben Finney <ben at>
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