Subject: Standing on multi-authored works
From: DV Henkel-Wallace <>
Date: Mon, 18 Apr 2005 09:07:55 -0700

 Mon, 18 Apr 2005 09:07:55 -0700

On 18 Apr 2005, at 08:39, Marshall W. Van Alstyne wrote:

>  A few posts ago, I promised to look into a legal question about 
> permissions on multi-authored works.  Checking with an IP law scholar 
> provided a pretty good clear answer.
>  She replied:
> Only one [needs to grant permission].  Either author can license the 
> work.  If I write the lyrics and you write the music to a song, either 
> of us can license the song, you can license the lyrics (even though I 
> wrote all of them and you wrote none of them) and I can license the 
> music.  We have a duty to account to each other for any proceeds.

I have long thought a problem was standing.  That is to say: the FSF 
has standing to sue in the case of case of license infringement WRT GNU 
software (e.g. Bash, GCC, etc).  This is the most important reason for 
assigning changes to the FSF.

It's not clear who has standing in the case of infringement of the 
Linux Kernel.  In some cases it's easy, but if it's a module, or a 
small section, and the author of that section has gone AWOL, then the 
infringer may get away scot-free.

In the case of some GNU software I  know  the original author is dead.  
That doesn't matter: their intentions, as well as their code, live on.