license <-> copyright

John Cowan jcowan at
Fri Mar 2 16:02:39 UTC 2001

Toon Knapen wrote:

> As I understand it, the copyright holder can
> define the a license on his work which stipulates
> what you can do with his work without breaking
> the copyright.

Just so.
> Next I also wanted to ask if a copyright is
> transferable. 

Yes.  In the U.S. (and in practice everywhere), such a
transfer must be in writing and signed by the

> For instance : is it best that
> all developers in an open-source project transfer
> their copyright to the project manager ?

That is a matter of opinion.  Only the copyright holder
can sue for infringement, so centralizing it in one place
can be useful in case of a lawsuit.  The FSF holds
the copyright on GNU works for that reason.

> Finally I also wanted to ask why a copyright
> notice always includes dates (years). Do these
> indicate the year the 'work' was released to
> the public ?

No, the date that it was first fixed in a tangible
medium such as paper, canvas, stone, or a hard disk.
The date is not required, but makes the way of
the infringer hard -- he cannot claim that he
didn't know the work was still in copyright.

There is / one art             || John Cowan <jcowan at>
no more / no less              ||
to do / all things             ||
with art- / lessness           \\ -- Piet Hein

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