Open Source Decision Models

verdy_p verdy_p at
Sat Mar 6 02:24:42 UTC 2010

"Chris Travers"  wrote:
> How do you know the GPL does not restrict these moral rights?

The GPL cannot restrict them as it would be illegal. The GPL cannot contradict the applicable laws, and moral rights 
are enforced by the law (in Europe, as well as in all copyrighted elements protected in European countries that are 
members of WIPO (and international WIPO agreements between other members imply they have accepted to protect these 
foreign rights as well).

That's why in Europe we speak about author's right, which is broader than just copyright (which is only a part of 
exclusive author's rights); note that not all authors rights can be seized or, in some cases, they may not even be 
fully transfered by authors (they keep not only their rights but also their responsablities and liabilities, even if 
they may share a part of them). What this means is that the full denial of responsability on their work is limited 
by law.

> In many jurisdictions, raw data and equations are not subject to
> copyright though expressive collections of such may be. Hence the
> need to think about such a line when deciding whether to release
> something open source.
> I know that in some jurisdictions (maybe that includes France),
> databases can be subject to copyright.

They are. You can't freely copy pages of diaries for this reason, but also because this database contains data that 
is subject to privacy control.

And their legitimate owners have a constant right to correct them or to restrict their publication, according to law 
"Informatique et liberté" of 1978, which is controled by a national commission which also requires that all 
maintainers of such database must declare their files, describe their intended usage, offer a permanent and free 
access to these data for their legitimate owners: the publication in a diary is a temporary authorization, 
equivalent to a licence, not a transfer, on this data, and this authroization must be explicit, not implied: it's 
illegal to collect the data and include it in a database without informing users

The collection and organization/indexing of the data from multiple people is also copyrighted and protected by the 
collector, others cannot freely copy it to create their own derived databases.

Those maintainers must take the appropriate measures to protect these databases from abusers; some of these measures 
include the possibility of including fake elements created by themselves, in order to detect those that have abused 
usage rights to "create" their own databases by importing these datas (similar measures are included in many maps, 
with false roads, duplicate roads, extra turns that have never existed on straight roads).

The databases containing personal elements are made accessible in a limited way and intended only for personal usage 
by a humane that will interpret them so that they can effectively correct themselves the few isolated elements, and 
they will have no severe damage if they use the data as intended. Some of these databases may be offered for "sale" 
(in fact just rental) with a very restricted licence (which also requires that the renter will declare itself). They 
cannot legally be transfered secretly to third parties (but legal transfers are possible under some strict legal 
conditions, without necessarily needing a transfer of money or services from the third party getting a copy of the 

Note also that personal data in such databases cannot be falsified: you can add fake elements as long as they are 
not attributed to an existing nominative person. The data must be as their legitimate authors wanted it to be when 
they accepted to be registered.

It is also illegal here to force the collection of additional personal data from a person in order to complete the 
obligations that the contractant has already accepted to provide. If this becomes absolutely necessary to complete a 
specific contract, the data can only be used for the completion of this explicit contract and then destroyed (or 
maintained in a completely restricted record for fiscal or legal controls according to its legal obligations).

For example a proof of identity or proof of address, or requesting a phone number, or changing the conditions of 
payment cannot be force requested later, otherwise it will be an unilateral break of contract, and the user will 
have rights to be compensated of all already paid costs, as well as additional damages (and the charges for 
returning an unsold product must be fully supported by the contract breaker: if the provider refuses to pay these 
charges, the object can be legally kept and will be considered given independantly of the possibility for the 
customer to claim for damages to the provider for its unliateral break of contract). If the contract is not 
concluded, any personal data collected during the initial negociation must also be destroyed without condition 
(unless your file has been legally authorized and registered nearby the national commission: your contact may 
require you a proof of this registration for your intended database).

A database can be in any physical form: a SQL server, a spreadsheet, a flat text file, a box with printed or written 
cartons, this does not matter. Before universal use of computers, files were in boxed cartons and were much more 
easily protected against abusers than they are now, because they required a physical access and costed much more to 
reproduce them. But now with the universal acces to the Internet, files can be transfered (or stolen) to any 
juridiction in the world in some seconds; the only thing that really protects them is their lack certification for 
their content or of their source.

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