The Copyright Act preempts the GPL

Peter Fairbrother zenadsl6186 at
Fri Feb 6 21:44:58 UTC 2004

will at wrote:

> Scott writes:
>> (A)
>> You say: "each person has a duty not to hinder him [the author making a
>> copy of his own work]".
>> I am aware of no basis in US copyright law for such a duty. I am aware
>> of no basis in US copyright law for a positive right to make a copy. By
>> writing something down, you become a copyright owner. That ownership
>> right does not give you any special privilege or right to copy,
>> distribute, etc. that work. If others have rights that are infringed by
>> such acts, they are free to assert those rights to prevent you from
>> undertaking those acts. They have no "duty not to hinder" you.
> To be clear, though, the copyright holder has the right to copy under the
> First Amendment, right?

I dunno, but he has the right to reproduce under Title 17 § 106 (1). What
that means precisely is another story.

He also has the completely seperate right to make (or authorise the making
of) a derivative work, under Title 17 § 106 (2).

(I said before that there is no copyright in a derivative work as a whole -
that is not quite true, see § 103. But that copyright does not include any
rights to any contributions to the work)

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