how much right do I have on my project, if there are patches by others?

Matthew Flaschen matthew.flaschen at
Mon Jul 9 05:11:20 UTC 2007

Rick Moen wrote:
> Quoting Matthew Flaschen (matthew.flaschen at
>> I guess this is the part I don't understand.  By analogy, if you make a
>> film adaptation of Lord of the Rings, it's a derivative work of the
>> book, and there are two authors involved.  But I don't see how it could
>> be a multi-author work, since Tolkien is dead and thus there couldn't be
>> any collaboration.
> Er, there's nothing about multi-author works that necessitates collaboration.

See below.  The key issue I'm still wondering about is:

Must every derivative work (made by a different author than the
original) involve either a joint or collective work?

If not, which ones must be?

> Again, I deny your premise about "collaboration".  I have no idea where
> you got that.

>From the Raymond essay, "Campbell vs. Lavery is appellate case law
indicating that collaboratively-written software is a collective rather
than joint work when programmers function in identifiable
author/contributor roles."  This (and probably other parts) gave me the
understanding that collective and joint works must involve collaboration.
>> No.  My understanding is that joint and collective works are legally
>> created (by definition).  But derivative works are not necessarily
>> legal.
> Nowhere did I say that derivative works are necessarily legal, so I'm
> utterly unclear on what you're driving at.

Okay, this is becoming a tangent.  I was trying to make a
counter-example, but it really isn't that relevant to the core issue.

Matthew Flaschen

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