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Re: gpl as applied to ideas

From: John Hasler
Subject: Re: gpl as applied to ideas
Date: Wed, 06 Dec 2006 15:25:25 -0600
User-agent: Gnus/5.110006 (No Gnus v0.6) Emacs/21.4 (gnu/linux)

Joseph S. writes:
> However, I have one problem with GPL: it talks of source code, linking,
> calling, mixing/combining free/non-free code and finally free/non-free
> documents. But nobody seems to be talking of concepts, ideas and layouts.

For good reason.  The GPL is a copyright license.  It applies only to
expression.  Copyright has nothing to do with concepts, ideas and layouts.

> If I copy UI ideas and program features from a well-made GPL program into
> my program, without even looking once at the source code, let alone
> copying it, and acknowledge the idea contribution explicitly in my
> License agreement, am I said to be abiding by the GPL as far as "ideas"
> or "concepts" go?

It doesn't matter what the copyright license on the program is because
copyright does not apply to ideas and concepts.

> You see, in both cases, the idea is what I have copied (used from the GPL
> package). But, I am specifically, explicitly stating that I took this
> idea from so-and-so GPL program, thereby immediately *transferring* the
> idea to anyone who reads the license. Thus, the idea remains "free
> software".

> Anything wrong with that?

Nothing at all.  Ideas are Free.
John Hasler
Dancing Horse Hill
Elmwood, WI USA

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