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Re: Copyright/Distribution questions (Emacs/Orgmode)

From: Subhan Tindall
Subject: Re: Copyright/Distribution questions (Emacs/Orgmode)
Date: Mon, 11 Mar 2013 12:52:22 -0700

Ah, I may see your error here Jambunathan.  Copyright becomes attached
to a work the moment in time it is created (at least in the US), and
publication has no bearing on it's existence or assignment.
The assignment of rights for "changes and enhancements to the program
" <insert progname here> covers the rights to created material from
*the moment the code is written*, not when the code is incorporated or
published in any way.  This assignment cannot be retroactively
rescinded.  There *may* be questions regarding the quantity of work
that is covered, for example if I write a for loop for my employer,
they can't really prevent me from using a for loop in the future(see

A similar situation is a work made for hire. For example, I work on
many programs for my employer.  As part of my contract, all copyright
for that work is ceded to my employer.  Should I later quit my job, I
cannot rescind those rights for any work that I have created for them,
regardless of it's incorporation into any existing work, published or
unpublished.  I can however terminate the ceding of copyright on
*future* code simply by quitting my job (leaving aside issues of trade
secrets and non-compete agreements for now)

If you don't believe me, I would suggest consultation with an attorney
skilled in IP law, preferably with experience in software contracts
and works for hire, before continuing your tirade and threats against
the community.
If your interpretation should prove to be correct, I will gladly issue
a public apology in this forum.

Note: I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV.

On Mon, Mar 11, 2013 at 12:12 PM, Jambunathan K <address@hidden> wrote:
> Richard
> Richard Stallman <address@hidden> writes:
>> Please note that the FSF does not, as a general rule, agree
>> to retraction of a copyright assignment.
> The question of retraction doesn't arise.  One retracts what is assigned
> and I haven't assigned anything.
> There is a difference between the code that is merged (already) and the
> code that is proposed to be merged.  The differnce is important and
> substantial.
> Someone in this thread pointed out that Copyright assignment is not an
> ongoing process but a historical event that happens in time.
> FSF has my support and sympathies.
> I have looked at the paper I have signed.  The only statement that
> remotely touches the case under discussion is the item (2).  I am not
> used to legalese and I might have overlooked something.  If you point to
> me the specific clause which says FSF owns copyright for un-merged and
> possibly un-written works then I am willing to go over that section and
> satisfy myself of the (unwitting) error I might have committed.
> Even if I feel bitter by how FSF is handling my request, other
> contributors will be warned that their contributions will be
> appropriated away against their wishes, if they were sign a copyright.
> If the FSF forcibly takes away the copyright against my wishes it
> amounts to stealing or snatching away by force.  AFAICS, the spirit of
> the FSF assignment is this: I assign copyright unless I state otherwise.
> Now, I am explicitly stating that I don't want to assign copyright for
> some part of my work.
> Hoping to hear from you.
> Hoping for a fair treatment,
> Jambunathan K.

Subhan Michael Tindall | Software Developer
| address@hidden
RENTRAK | www.rentrak.com | NASDAQ: RENT

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