Re: Copyright issues re Debian website

From: "Barak A(dot) Pearlmutter" <barak(at)cs(dot)nuim(dot)ie>
To: spi-general(at)lists(dot)spi-inc(dot)org
Subject: Re: Copyright issues re Debian website
Date: 2008-03-11 22:29:35
Message-ID: E1JZCyV-0003UA-9W@corti
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Lists: spi-general

I'm going to chime in to support Bruce here.

Everyone, including Bruce, *agrees* that it is *best* and *safest* to
get explicit assignments or explicit relicense permission. All the
official legal advice being tossed about is saying exactly that. But
none of it has said that, in a pinch, when that isn't feasible, you
can't do a relicense on content contributed to a site. In fact, as
far as I can tell, companies do that all the time, eg with comments on
blogs and such.

Within the free <stuff> world, I believe that wikipedia did such a
copyright change, from GFDL+cover_text to plain GFDL. I do not recall
any attempt to obtain explicit permission from all contributors. I
would imagine wikipedia has ready access to legal council.

I'd futher note that, with products of "joint authorship", like a
journal paper with multiple authors, I've been informed that license
to publish can be granted by *one* of the authors alone. This is
common in academia, which is how I know about it. (If one author does
so without consulting the others he'd might be considered a "jerk",
but that's another matter.)

So it doesn't seem so clear to me that Bruce is wrong about this.

Just sayin',

Barak A. Pearlmutter
Hamilton Institute & Dept Comp Sci, NUI Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland


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