[Foundation-l] GFDL and Relicensing

Lars Aronsson lars at aronsson.se
Thu Nov 22 20:46:29 UTC 2007

Tim 'avatar' Bartel wrote:

> of cases where people (in Germany) notice an '...or later' 
> clause and sign a contract anyhow because they know, that this 
> clause is ineffective.

German law applies *in Germany*, not *to Germans*.  As soon as 
they (or their works) move beyond borders, they are exposed to 
other legal systems.  (Go to China and kill someone -- you might 
be sentenced to death.)  So if the clause is ineffective under 
German law, you can feel "safe" only as long as you (and your 
work) stay in that country.

Suppose the WMF in the year 2057 decides to use your Wikipedia 
articles in accordance with GFDL version 17.  You're in Germany 
and claim that you never legally agreed to this, and you sue WMF 
for copyright infringement in a German court of law.  That might 
stop WMF from reusing your articles in this way in Germany, but it 
doesn't stop WMF from reusing your articles in this way in Mexico.  
If you're going to sue anybody for copyright infringement in 
Mexico, you must find arguments that work under Mexican law.

The state of Bavaria claims they own Hitler's copyright, which 
they confiscated in 1948, and sued a Swedish publisher of a 
translated "Mein Kampf" (1992). But the Swedish supreme court in 
1998 said a state cannot legally confiscate copyright for the 
purpose of blocking publishing, since that would mean censorship, 
and turned the case down. The book is sold in stores (part 1, ISBN 
978-91-7123-100-0 and part 2, ISBN 978-91-7123-101-7).

  Lars Aronsson (lars at aronsson.se)
  Aronsson Datateknik - http://aronsson.se

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