[License-review] veto against Unlicence

Langley, Stuart Stuart.Langley at disney.com
Thu May 14 16:24:07 UTC 2020

Pamela Chestek wrote:

>You're right, I was only thinking about economic rights (my US bias is
>showing), but the question is still the same, which is why the clear
>statement of the author's intentions would not defeat any claim of
>wrongdoing no matter what the legal theory is.

>But many, many licenses don't address moral rights, so I'm not sure why
>this one is more problematic - other than Thorton's premise that the
>license language is somehow entirely ineffective, making this situation

As I understand it, and I don't practice in Europe either, the difficulty with Germany is that the law prohibits assignments or complete transfer of copyright altogether. It is a "moral right" in the sense that it is possessed by the creator until death, then transfers to heirs.  France allows transfer of the copyright, but distinguishes the "moral rights"; the later are, like German copyright,  not transferrable at all.  The moral rights in France are relatively constrained such that there is minimal risk of harm to a subsequent owner however.

The issue this creates is that the author can't make a valid transfer to the public domain.  Transfers are not allowed.  The author's completely clear and unambiguous intent to transfer does not change that. The only option is to license sufficient rights.  Without a license, even if the author does not assert copyright, their heirs might.

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