Posted Apr 15, 2011 15:26 UTC (Fri) by butlerm
In reply to: Co-owners?
Parent article: Project Harmony decloaks
So what we have is a bunch of separate works, the copyright of each is held by different people.
That may be the case with regard to a module or driver written substantially by one contributor, but it isn't remotely sustainable with regard to unitary subsystems with hundreds of patches from many contributors. By any reasonable standard, for a work to be "collective" rather than "joint", each individual contribution must have some independent merit as a work in and of itself. See the definition of "joint work" in 17 USC 101.
The termination rights issue here is an interesting one, but it is worth noting that termination requires majority consent of those with termination interests in a work. This is unequivocally a good thing.
It means that several decades from now a contributor might be able to terminate a license to a contribution (such as a driver) that has independent merit, but would require tracking down and obtaining the consent of at least a majority of other contributors to terminate an interest in a portion of the total work that many have contributed to. See 17 USC 203(a)(1).
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