GPL issue at my work place

Philippe Verdy verdy_p at
Fri Jan 18 22:45:13 UTC 2008

> De : James McGovern [mailto:james at]
> Envoyé : vendredi 18 janvier 2008 13:02
> Cc : license-discuss at
> Objet : RE: GPL issue at my work place
> American lawyers care about cases in America. Europe is academically
> interesting to US folks but not useful in terms of making an informed
> decision.

It is not just informative for US lawyers: both Germany and US are signing
parties to international treaties (now managed by WIPO). What a judge will
decide in Germany about copyright status will also apply in US, because US
has accepted to be bound by common rules.

However the German case must then be registered as a jurisprudence in some
international court designated by WIPO. So these decisions will have to be
motivated, most probably by a collection of decisions, (including the
arbitrations between conflicting decisions in several European countries,
and also possibly the arbitration within Germany itself, either by a
procedure of last appeal or decision in national law, if several German
courts have made different decisions on different but similar cases).

Note that Germany is a federal country: a decision in a Land wil not
necessarily apply to the whole Germany, unless the parties involved in a
litigation claimed their rights from several Länder and made a procedure to
define the competence of the court and the scope of its decision, or the
Public Ministry defended a national position during the trial.

The quality of the court, and the citation of the parties involved, as well
as the lecture of the ''attendus'' will reveal the scope of the decision
ordered by the judge, but even in this case, if another judge comes later
and validated the jurisprudence in another case, both cases will merge into
a larger one with a broader scope of application.

When such decisions are made against orgnisations so that the decision will
apply to the whole organisation (including its various establishments in
various countries), this creates a large precedent for claiming
jurisprudence at least within the whole country, and most probably within
all the European Union). If another organisation constests the scope of the
decision in another country, it will have to start an action in its own
country to contest this application, but it will ba acting against the
Public Ministry that recognizes (by default) the decision of another
European court and can apply it.

Note that justice decisions in any European court can be applied
internationally within the EU: a German court can order things to have its
decision applied against all establishments of the involved parties to the
trial, and can then provide valid execution commissions to forces of police
within all EU.

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