Rob Myers on Sun, 20 Nov 2011 16:32:26 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> My Lawyer is an Artist

On 17/11/11 01:24, Heiko Recktenwald wrote:

>> A producer/copyright owner can change their mind about the license
>> of a work in the future, but cannot retroactively change a license
>> granted in the past if it was an indefinite license.
> This is a beautifull idea but is it true?


> What is "a licence"?

A legal grant of permission. In some jurisdictions it is a form of
legal contract.

> Is it a thing that you get? No, it is a set of rules on what you can
> do with something else, some code or whatever.

Which affect whether you get a particular thing or not.

> And all rules have to be interpreted. Transfers of the code
> accordiing to the words of the licence have to be valid.

All legal documents have to be interpreted. The GPL and various
Creative Commons licences have been interpreted and upheld by the

> I would make a difference between the relation between creator A and
> user B and the relation between user B and C.
> Even if creator A would OWE something to user B, he would owe
> nothing to user C.

B owes something to C, though, and B got it from A. A cannot change
B's ability to give A's work to C. What A "owes" C depends on how
Romantically we view A's work. But C will certainly end up with A's

You are right that A and B have different relationships to C: under
copyleft A can relicence adaptations of the work, B can't. But that's
very different from being able to prevent C from receiving the
original work from B.

> But I doubt that there is any DUTY of creator A against anybody in
> those licences in any legal sense and think that there is nothing
> but a poem and actual consent on creator A, that can change.

As I say, the courts have upheld these "poems". A has no power to
prevent C receiving the work from A. We can phrase this as a duty not
to prevent C from receiving the work if we really want to.

- Rob.

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