German software licensing law

Seth Johnson seth.johnson at
Tue Sep 27 23:37:59 UTC 2005

Ben Finney wrote:
> 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.

Based on the author's derivative works right.  It describes how
the author is asserting that right.

> > > 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
> acts.

The GPL does these things based on the author's derivative works

> 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.

Yes, it makes clear what basis it is standing on.  The legal
basis of the GPL is in the author's derivative works right, which
"automatically applies" as the author stipulates, i.e., through
the use of the GPL.

> > 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.



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> Ben Finney <ben at>
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