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Re: GPL and other licences

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: GPL and other licences
Date: Thu, 02 Feb 2006 14:07:03 +0100

Rui Miguel Silva Seabra wrote:
> On Wed, 2006-02-01 at 11:43 +0100, Alexander Terekhov wrote:
> > Barry Margolin wrote:
> > [...]
> > > But that's not really a good analogy.  Combining two programs is not
> > > just making references, you actually merge parts of one program into a
> > > copy of the other.
> >
> > What do you mean by "merge". They remain as two separate computer
> > programs (or parts thereof, if you like) under copyright law. No
> > protected expression was transformed/modified forming a derivative
> > work. Combined executable is just an aggregation of many computer
> > program works under copyright law. If you insist I can supply you
> > with maps that will allow you to extract all those distinct
> > components.
> You can't include someone else's book into your own book unless they
> allow so.

One can download a copy of GPL'd work (without any "I accept") directly 
to a compilation on a tangible medium. In source code or object code 
form (both forms are wildly available).

Archivers and linkers don't create derivative works.


Section 103 complements section 102: A compilation or derivative
work is copyrightable if it represents an ''original work of
authorship'' and falls within one or more of the categories listed
in section 102. Read together, the two sections make plain that
the criteria of copyrightable subject matter stated in section 102
apply with full force to works that are entirely original and to
those containing preexisting material. Section 103(b) is also
intended to define, more sharply and clearly than does section 7
of the present law (section 7 of former title 17), the important
interrelationship and correlation between protection of preexisting
and of ''new'' material in a particular work. The most important
point here is one that is commonly misunderstood today: copyright
in a ''new version'' covers only the material added by the later
author, and has no effect one way or the other on the copyright or
public domain status of the preexisting material.

Between them the terms ''compilations'' and ''derivative works''
which are defined in section 101 comprehend every copyrightable
work that employs preexisting material or data of any kind. There
is necessarily some overlapping between the two, but they basically
represent different concepts. A ''compilation'' results from a
process of selecting, bringing together, organizing, and arranging
previously existing material of all kinds, regardless of whether
the individual items in the material have been or ever could have
been subject to copyright. A ''derivative work,'' on the other
hand, requires a process of recasting, transforming, or adapting
''one or more preexisting works''; the ''preexisting work'' must
come within the general subject matter of copyright set forth in
section 102, regardless of whether it is or was ever copyrighted.

The second part of the sentence that makes up section 103(a)
deals with the status of a compilation or derivative work
unlawfully employing preexisting copyrighted material. In
providing that protection does not extend to ''any part of the
work in which such material has been used unlawfully,'' the bill
prevents an infringer from benefiting, through copyright
protection, from committing an unlawful act, but preserves
protection for those parts of the work that do not employ the
preexisting work. Thus, an unauthorized translation of a novel
could not be copyrighted at all, but the owner of copyright in
an anthology of poetry could sue someone who infringed the whole
anthology, even though the infringer proves that publication of
one of the poems was unauthorized.

> That's what is meant by "merge" and what happens in linking software.

Nothing is merged "in linking software."


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