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Re: GPL 2(b) HUH?

From: Barry Margolin
Subject: Re: GPL 2(b) HUH?
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2008 21:45:29 -0400
User-agent: MT-NewsWatcher/3.5.3b3 (Intel Mac OS X)

In article <>,
 Rjack <> wrote:

> Barry Margolin wrote:
> > In article <vl7Ak.413$>,
> >  Hyman Rosen <> wrote:
> > 
> >> Ciaran O'Riordan wrote:
> >>> But if you looked at Linux, decided the scheduler was crap, and then 
> >>> wrote a
> >>> completely new scheduler for Linux, then that would be a derivative work
> >> No, it would not. By statute, in the U.S., a derivative work is a
> >> transformation of another work which retains its original purpose -
> > 
> > A new version of Linux with a different scheduler serves the same 
> > purpose: they're both operating system kernels.
> > 
> >> turning a short story into a movie script, or translating into a
> >> different language. See the Harry Potter case, where the judge said
> >> that turning narratives into a reference text, even with massive
> >> copying from the original sources, does not make the reference text
> >> a derivative work of the novels, because the reference does not serve
> >> the same purpose as the novels even though it is a transformation of
> >> them.
> > 
> > I think the real-world analogy to the scenario Ciaran described would be 
> > if you took the Harry Potter text, removed a chapter, and replaced it 
> > with a new chapter that you wrote.  What would the status of the 
> > resulting book be?  Is it a derivative of the original Harry Potter, or 
> > a compilation of the originnal chapters (minus 1) and the new chapter?
> > 
> Uh. Linux has hudreds of contributors. Did hundreds of authors 
> contribute their copyrighted works to Harry Potter?

No, but I don't see how that's relevant.  Whether the original copyright 
was owned by a single person or a collective is irrelevant to the status 
of the result of modifying it.

Are you trying to suggest that Linux is more like an anthology, and 
replacing the scheduler is like replacing one of the stories in the 
anthology?  I think it's more like a novel, since the components are not 
generally standalone, they're integral pieces of the whole.

Barry Margolin,
Arlington, MA
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