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Re: gpl as applied to ideas

From: Barry Margolin
Subject: Re: gpl as applied to ideas
Date: Wed, 06 Dec 2006 23:55:37 -0500
User-agent: MT-NewsWatcher/3.5.2 (PPC Mac OS X)

In article <>,
 "Joseph S." <> wrote:

> 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.

The notion of copyright only applies to actual text or code, not ideas.  
You have to use patents to protect ideas, and the rules for patents are 
very different than copyright.

The GPL does talk about patents.  From the Preamble:

  Finally, any free program is threatened constantly by software
patents.  We wish to avoid the danger that redistributors of a free
program will individually obtain patent licenses, in effect making the
program proprietary.  To prevent this, we have made it clear that any
patent must be licensed for everyone's free use or not licensed at all.

Barry Margolin,
Arlington, MA
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