[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
GNU GPL not Multimedia Compatible?
Thomas Uwe Gruettmueller
GNU GPL not Multimedia Compatible?
Mon, 15 Apr 2002 08:17:12 +0200
Hi, GNU folks!
I have recently joined this list because I would like to bring
two problems to your attention, which I see in the GPL, and
discuss them with you. However, as I am not a lawyer, my
interpretation of the GPL and the German copyright law could
also be complete garbage; so there might be no problem at all.
If you can convince me of that, I would be very happy :o)
Some time ago, I tried to apply the GPL on raster sequencer
music. For this kind of music, it is easy to determine what
"source code" and "object code" mean: the source code would be
the sequencer data, the samples and maybe also the sequencer
software; the object code OTOH would be the digital recording
that can be "compiled" byte-accurately from the source code.
Also, I feel that my music should be copylefted, and that I want
to create music with similar-minded people; so the GPL seemed
fine to me. (I don't have an oppinion on whether all music
should be free, though.)
After putting a first test song onto my web site, I started
reading through the German copyright law.
If I understand it correctly, the only exclusive rights the
author of a computer program holds (s. §69a 4. and §69c UrhG)
are copying, modification and distribution (maybe also runnig?).
For other artistic work, e.g. for music works, there are also
several other exclusive rights, e.g. broadcasting, performance,
etc. (s. §15 UrhG ff).
(I have sloppily translated the relevant sections of the German
copyright law into English, and include them, below. I don't
think this problem is Germany-specific, but I have not read
other Copyright laws, yet.)
Now, the GPL reads,
| Activities other than copying, distribution and modification
| are not covered by this license; they are outside its scope.
On the first glance, I understood this as "Other activities are
not restricted", but literally read, it certainly means "Other
activities are not granted" :o(
However, I want to grant these rights. So, it seems, that
although it is possible to apply the GPL on music works, there
is still need for a complemental license that would grant the
additional rights. Without such -- still fictional --
complemental license, it would not be possible e.g. to broadcast
Now, about the incompatibility issue:
Normally, nobody would object against broadcasting a free
software program (e.g. in the vertical blank time frame of a TV
signal). This would probably be considered a way of copying and
distributing the program.
However, as already said, a GPLed music work cannot be
broadcasted, without royalties involved -- at least not without
an additional licence.
So, if a GPLed computer program and a GPLed music work are put
together, forming a greater work, e.g. a computer game, the
resulting work could not be freely distributed by broadcasting,
The GPL does not allow futher restriction of the rights it
grants (s. item 6.), however linking GPLed music with a GPLed
program, creating a GPLed game which is a derived work of both
parts, would create such further restriction, the original
program did not have. IMHO, one cannot argue in this case that
the game is just mere aggregation of several independent parts
(like a program and its documentation are), that do not form one
work. I think, they actually do form a "collective work" (s. §4
UrhG). Thus, it must be IMHO legally impossible to create such a
computer game at all.
For music in general, it is hard to determine what the term
"source code" means. So, for music that is not created using a
raster sequencer, it is more convenient not to enforce the
distribution of the source code. This can be easily done with an
exception to the GPL, written into the copyright note.
However, there are again two compatibility issues:
1. Music enforcing its source code distribution and such that
doesn't, are not compatible.
I don't want my music to be restricted to raster sequencing,
only. Maybe some wants to perform the songs live, and then
create a 256-track recording from it. So, I would also have to
not enforce the source code. (That seems pretty OK to me, as
the sources of music are IMHO not so important than those of
technical stuff. However, it increments the possibility of
2. If there is no source code available for a music recording,
it will not be includable into a GPLed computer game, because
of the lack of source code.
I understand that the FSF does not care about the freedom of
music, as in most cases, there is no resemblence with free
But maybe, you could reconsider your position and
1. create a free multimedia license that allows the additional
rights (see below) and therefore solves the compatibility
2. release the recording of the Free Software Song under it, so
that I can finally remix it ;o)
- - - - -
LAW ABOUT AUTHORS RIGHTS AND RELATED PROTECTION RIGHTS
(AUTHORS RIGHTS LAW)
Last modified: 1998-11-01
Part 1: AUTHORS RIGHTS
Section 2: The Work
§ 4 Collective Works and Database Works
1. Collections of works, data or other independent elements
that are a personal intellectual creation because of their
choice or arrangement (collective works), are protected like
individual works, independently from authors rights or
related protection rights, possibly pending on each of the
2. A database work in the sense of this law is a collective
work, of which the elements are arranged methodically or
systematically, [so that] they can be individually accessed
with the help of technical equipment or other ways. A
computer program (§69a), used for creating the database work
or used for accessing the elements is not part of the
Section 4: Content of the Authors Rights
3. Usage Rights
["Verwertung", here tranlated as "usage", originally sounds a bit
§ 15 Overview
1. The author has the exclusive right to use his work in
material form; this right includes especially
1. the copy right (§16),
2. the distribution right (§17)
3. the exhibition right (§18)
2. The author has the exclusive right to publically play back
his work in immaterial form (public play back right); this
right includes especially
1. the recitation-, performance-, and presentation right (§19
2. the broadcasting right (§20)
3. the right to play back the work from audiovisual media
4. the right to play back the work from a broadcasting (§22)
3. The play back of a work is publically, if it is intended for
several people, except if they are a clearly delimited group,
with a personal relationship between themselves or to the
§ 16 Copy Right
1. The copy right is the right to create copies of the work,
no matter how many or with which technique.
2. Copying also means the transfer of the work on devices for
repeated playback of video or audio sequences (audiovisual
media), no matter if a play back of the work is recorded
onto audiovisual media or if the work is transferred from
one audiovisual medium to another.
§ 17 Distribution Right
1. The distribution right is the right to offer the original or
copies of the work to the public, or to circulate them.
2. If, on the territory of the European Union or [blah-blah],
with the consent of the distribution right holder, the
original or copies of the work have been brought into
circulation by selling, their redistribution is allowed,
except for renting.
3. Renting in the sense of the rules of this law means to let
others use [the work] for a limited time, serving -- directly
or indirectly -- business purposes. It does not count as
renting to let someone use originals or copies
1. of building works or works of the applied arts or
2. within a work relationship for the limited purpose to
use it for the duties of the work relationship.
§ 18 Exhibution Right
The exhibution right is the right to publically display the
original or copies of an unpublished work of the depicting
arts or of an unpublished photographic work.
§ 19 Recitation-, Performance-, and Presentation Right
1. The recitation right is the right to make a language work
publically audible by performing it personally.
2. The performance right is the right to make a music work
publically audible by performing it personally or to perform
a work on stage.
3. The recitation right and the performance right include the
right to make the recitals and performances publically
perceptible outside the room in which they take place, using
screens, loudspeakers or similar technical equipment.
4. The presentation right is the right to make a work of the
depicting arts, a photographical work, a film work or
representations of scientific or technical nature publically
perceptible, using technical equipment. The presentation
right does not include the right to make a broadcasting of
such work publically perceptible (§22).
§ 20 Broadcasting Right
The broadcasting right is the right to make the work
available to the public, using audio broadcasting, television
broadcasting, sattelite broadcasting, cable broadcasting or
similar technical means.
§ 20a European Sattelite Broadcasting
§ 20b Cable Re-Broadcasting
§ 21 Right to Play Back the Work from Audiovisual Media
The right to play back the work from audiovisual media is the
right to make recitals or performances of the work publically
perceptible, using audiovisual media. §19, par. 3 applies
§ 22 Right to Play Back the Work from a Broadcasting
The right to play back the work from a broadcasting is the
right to make broadcastings of the work publically
perceptible, using screens, loudspeakers or similar technical
equipment. §19, par. 3 applies here, corresponding.
§ 23 Adaptions and Modifications
Adaptions and other modifications may only be published or
used with the consent of the [original?] author of the
changed or modified work. If a work is to be filmed, if plans
or sketches of a work of the depicting arts are to be
executed, if a constuction work is to be rebuilt or if a
database work is to be adapted or modified, also the creation
of the adaption or modification requires the consent of the
§ 24 Free Use
1. An independant work that was created by freely using the work
of another [author], may be published and used without the
consent of the author of the used work.
2. Par. 1 does not apply to using a work of music in a way that
a melody is recognizably taken from the work and inserted
into a new work.
[end of "3. Usage Rights"]
Section 8: Special Regulations on Computer Programmes
§ 69a Object of Protection
1. In the sense of this law, computer programmes are programmes
of any appearance, including their draft material.
2. The granted protection is valid for all forms of a computer
program. Ideas and principles, on which an element of a
computer program is based, including the ideas and principles
on which the interfaces are based, are not protected.
3. Computer programmes are protected, if they are individual
works, meaning that they are the results of the author's own
intellectual creativity. In order to determine their
protectability no other criteria must be applied, especially
not quality-based or aesthetical ones.
4. On computer programmes, the regulations for language works
apply, if not ruled otherwise in this section.
§ 69b Authors in a Work- or Service Relationship [...]
§ 69c Activities that Require Consent
The right holder has the exclusive right to execute the
following activities or to allow them:
1. copying the computer program, permanently or temporary,
completely or partially, whith any means and in any form.
If loading, displaying, running, transferring or saving
the program require the program to be copied, also these
activities require the consent of the right holder.
2. translating, editing, arranging and other forms of
modifying a computer program, as well as to copy the
results. The rights of those, who edit the program, are
3. any form of distributing the original [;o)] of a computer
program, or copies of it, including renting it. If a copy
of a computer program is brought into circulation on the
territory of the European Union, by selling it, the
distribution right is exhausted in regard to this copy,
except for the renting right.
§ 69d Exceptions from Activities that Require Consent [...]
§ 69e Decompiling [...]
§ 69f Right Infringement [...]
§ 69g Application of Other Juristical Regulations, Contract Law
[End of Section 8]
[End of Part One]
|[Prev in Thread]
||[Next in Thread]|
- GNU GPL not Multimedia Compatible?,
Thomas Uwe Gruettmueller <=