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Re: State of the GPL Angband Nation

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: State of the GPL Angband Nation
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2006 13:03:57 +0200

It's not clear whether the subject is audiovisual or computer programs
(i.e. literary apart from unprotectable elements filtered out by the 
AFC test) works, but assuming the later...

> * Neil Stevens <>:
> >  Steven Fuerst wrote:
> > > I think it has something to do with the "derivedness" of it.  You 
> > > basically
> > > need to start with something completely new to change the copyright.  Note
> > > that IANAL as well, so this could be completely wrong.
> >
> >  Seems to me that if you just rewrite the same thing, then sure, the
> >  whole work is the same old derived work.  Only way that works is if you
> >  do a careful clean room reverse engineering, and clearly most of us
> >  don't qualify for that kind of thing, heh.

Clean room is about doctrine of independent creation. As long as 
functional specification (for clean room reimpl) doesn't convey any 
protected elements of expression (see the AFC test case law for 
computer program works protection) from the "stolen" work, the clean 
room re-implementation may be exactly the same (same expression) as 
original and that won't make it infringing. Without clean room, the 
standard is that exposure means tainting and you may be liable for 
infringement (e.g. "My Sweet Lord"

> >
> >  But if you take the parts that are licensed badly, and write new,
> >  differently-behaving replacements, then it gets hard for me to see it
> >  being anything but a new work, at least with respect to the
> >  badly-licensed parts.
> >
> >  This sort of workaround clearly wouldn't work well for someone trying to
> >  make Angband covered by the GNU GPL, but with ToME 3 we have the luxury
> >  of already rewriting so many things, including the entire monster and
> >  item lists, that a few more big behavioral changes won't matter.
> Hello, i think thats wrong. Its not necessary that the new parts behave
> differently, you only have to write them not using the badly-licensed
> parts.

Using "badly-licensed parts" is all right (breach of contract aside for
a moment) as long as "new parts" don't contain any protected expression 
from "badly-licensed parts". That's apart from clean room/doctrine of 
independent creation.


"It seems possible, however, that courts may interpret the GPL in a broader 
way, which would increase concerns regarding the validity of the GPL under 
copyright misuse doctrines, competition laws and unfair contract term laws; 
such concerns can be greater or smaller depending on the circumstances of 
the licensing parties and jurisdictions involved. If such broad 
interpretations were to prevail--but the resulting validity concerns were 
not--the software industry might move more generally to GLP-like restrictive 
licensing practices that permit and prohibit certain software combinations. 
This would potentially have a serious impact on interoperability. Then, 
software combinations could become dangerous liaisons."


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