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Re: GCC and copyright registration

From: Rjack
Subject: Re: GCC and copyright registration
Date: Fri, 20 Feb 2009 18:33:17 -0500
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20081209)

David Kastrup wrote:
Rjack <> writes:

The Free Software Foundation has sued Cisco for infringement of its
*registered works* in the Second Federal Circuit. One of the works
is claimed to be the GCC compiler:

"18. Plaintiff holds registered copyrights in GLibC (Registrations
#TX 5-873-252 and TX 6-509-281), Coreutils (TX 6-073-883), Wget (TX
6-099-872), GCC (TX 2-084-819, TX 5-948-615, TX 6-030-547, TX
6-191-571, TX 6-268-075, TX 6-537-950, TX 6-538-142), Binutils (TX
5-789-407), and GDB (TX 1-926-144, TX 6-084-476)".

Now, one of the most heralded benefits of open source code is the
fact that improvements in the form of derivative works are readily
available. Contributors assign ownership of their modifications to
the FSF. Unfortunately the registration of the original work does
not give rise to registration for derivative works for the owner.
The last version of GCC to be registered was in 2006. Unless the
defendant (Cisco) is accused of distributing the 2006 version of
GCC, the suit is without legal standing:

"Under section 411(a), registration of a claim on an original work
does not create subject matter jurisdiction with respect to a suit
for infringement of the original's unregistered derivative.";
Well-Made Toy Mfg. Corp. v. Goffa, 354 F.3d 112 (2d Cir. 2003).

That means that if the copyright term for the original registered work
has expired, there is no remaining registered protection for the
derivative.  Also those parts of the derivative which are clearly
independent from the original registered work, are not yet with a
registered copyright claim.

Since apparently we are not talking about either of those specific
situations, it is hard to see what your problem is.


Rjack :)

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