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Re: gpl as applied to ideas

From: Joseph S.
Subject: Re: gpl as applied to ideas
Date: 7 Dec 2006 01:16:22 -0800
User-agent: G2/1.0

Hi all,
First, thanks for the quick replies.

John Hasler:
>>Nothing at all.  Ideas are Free.
Thanks. A million.

>>Sec. 102(b) In no case does copyright protection for an original work of
authorship extend to any idea, procedure ...
Thanks. Quotes give solid backing.

Barry Margolin wrote:
>   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.

Long ago, when there was an effort to oppose software patents, I too
signed it, so that we would not have to pay patent license money to M$
to put "B", "I" and "U" buttons in our editors to make the text bold,
italic or underlined, just because they believed that they did it first
and "showed new light to the masses".

Finally, that leaves one issue:

Can I inspect source code in one language (PHP in particular, with all
its $'s, ->'s, and =>'s ) and make a program in VB.Net (with
namespaces, dots(.), and OOP framework) which does roughly the same

No, I cannot do code copy-paste because the syntaxes are different and
organization of functions / classes are different.

Would I be said to be "influenced enough" for it to be called a
derivative work from the GPLed program?
Technically no, but in spirit, absolutely. Porting from PHP to .Net, in
If you ask me personally, I would say it *is* _thievery_ IF a shareware
program were involved. But GPLed software? Since one component of the
allowed freedoms is "to inspect/study the source code".

And as far as idea patents go, M$ will be ruined if someone actually
decides to enforce idea-patent compensation - every other component of
their entire "software ecosystem" is copied from a hundred different
ingenious inventors - of course, ideas and concepts only - because they
know that copying code directly will be disastrous legally.

Thanks again to everyone,
Best wishes,

May the Source be with you!

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