For Approval: Academic Citing License

Michael Poole mdpoole at
Tue Sep 28 23:05:11 UTC 2004

Rick Moen writes:

> Quoting Johannes Kaiser (jkaiser at
> > Thanks Evan and Lasse. I understand now that restricting 
> > performance/publication is restricting use.
> FYI:  At least in the USA's Copyright Act, the provisions concerning
> performance rights are limited specifically to music, photoplay, and
> similar works -- not software.  Software copyright holders don't enjoy
> "performance rights" as to the execution of code (per se).

US law is less clear than you imply.  From the WIPO Copyright Treaty:
"Computer programs are protected as literary works within the meaning
of Article 2 of the Berne Convention."  The Berne Convention reserves
"public recitation" of literary works to the copyright holder, and
Article 8 of the WIPO Copyright Treaty further expands the rights
reserved to the author of a literary work.  For literary works, 17 USC
106 does reserve the rights of public performance and public display
to the copyright holder.

This is not entirely incompatible with what you said: 17 USC does not
elaborate on the overlap between execution of a program and its public
performance or display.  Authors do not enjoy (in the US) performance
rights on code's execution, but they do enjoy public performance
rights as far as the term applies to their programs.

Cf "external deployment" clauses such as those found in the Open
Software License and RealNetworks Public Source License.

Michael Poole

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