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Re: [ROFL] GCC's GPLv3 "Updated License Exception"

From: Alan Mackenzie
Subject: Re: [ROFL] GCC's GPLv3 "Updated License Exception"
Date: Fri, 6 Feb 2009 15:39:06 +0000 (UTC)
User-agent: tin/1.6.2-20030910 ("Pabbay") (UNIX) (FreeBSD/4.11-RELEASE (i386))

Hyman Rosen <> wrote:
> Alan Mackenzie wrote:
>> An example of a "mere aggregation" is two books bound together in a
>> single spine.  However, if two authors were to cooperate to produce a
>> single book, this would not be a "mere aggretation" - it would be a
>> tightly integrated whole - just like a single binary resulting from a
>> compilation process.

> No. What's missing from the compilation case is the work of
> authorship.

Sorry, I can't parse that.  Which work of authorship are you talking
about?  By "work" do you mean the process of working or an artifact?

> Copyrighted works are created by human authors
> doing creative work. Period.


> Any other way of creating a work that contains pieces of copyrighted
> material results in just that - a pile of stuff with copyrighted
> material in it.

I think a "construction of stuff" is a better description than
"pile of stuff", in the sense that if you take any bit away, the rest
collapses into uselessness.

The "any other way" might be a compiler/linker, or perhaps a printing
press.  Is that what you mean?

> The work as a whole cannot be separately copyrighted.
> The right to make copies of it is the intersection of the
> right to make copies of the pieces.

I'm not sure there are any "pieces" in any meaningful sense.  If I write
a book, which is then printed and bound by a publisher's machines, this
is analogous to compiling and linking my program.  The publisher doesn't
have any copyright on the printed book, beyond what he's negotiated with
the author.  The book goes out of copyright N years (70 in the EU) after
the _author's_ death, not the publisher's death.

If I write foo.c and compile it to foo.o, I don't think there are pieces
there.  I then link it with a few other files and it becomes the
executable foo.  The only bits in there which aren't my copyright are
analogues of the book's cover and printing.

If I were to take some source code written by somebody who died in 1938
and compile it a working program, that program would be public domain,
just like the source code, wouldn't it?  Hey, didn't Ada Lovelace do
some programming back in whenever it was?

Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).

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