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Re: Copyright Misuse Doctrine in Apple v. Psystar

From: amicus_curious
Subject: Re: Copyright Misuse Doctrine in Apple v. Psystar
Date: Sun, 22 Feb 2009 09:51:24 -0500

"Rahul Dhesi" <> wrote in message news:gnqf0f$8bs$
"amicus_curious" <> writes:

The companies misappropriating GPL software are thus causing a lot of
time and effort to be expended.  If they respected the copyrights of
software authors, all of this discussion would be unnecesary.

Or if the authors weren't such egomaniacs, they could just ignore the
situation and be happy that someone else thought enough of their creation to
use it themselves.

I sort of agree with you. If copyright owners were more willing to
freely give away their work, life would be so much easier for all of us.
Unlimited music downloads at no charge. Copy any software of your
choice, no licensing, no cost, no copy protection. Make unlimited copies
of movies and share with others.  Copy any appeals court opinion and
freely share with others, without worrying about copyrighted page
numbers.  And so on.

It would be great for users.

And, in this ideal world that you wish for, copyright owners would be
happy that "someone else thought enough of their creation to use it", as
you so eloquently stated it.

But a lot of authors would then not create so many creative works.

I think that you are misreading the situations. Certainly a copyright owner who is selling access to his work is not interested in giving it away. That makes sense. But the BusyBox authors are totally willing to give their work away and have been doing so for years. The only thing that they are hammering their users in regard to is for not publishing the acknowledgement and code itself on the user's own site. The only thing they could get out of that is the recognition that they wrote the BusyBox code and the only people who recognize that are the geeks who might paw through the back pages of, say, Actiontec's website and stumble across the GPL download page. Then they would have to download the BusyBox library tar and read through the headers to see who was claiming credit. I doubt that more than .000001% of Verizon's customers ever would do that. The lawsuits are being threatened over nothing.

If they stop working due to this amount of slight, it would be curious indeed.

So what we have now is a compromise. Copyright law gives copyright
owners the right to allow copying and distribution of their software on
their own terms.  It's not always convenient to abide by these terms,
but we do end up with more creative works available.

So your point of view, though very idealistic, has some validity.  But
your point of view is not mainstream today.

However, there is something to be said for a shorter copyright term.
Today's long copyright terms err in favor of coypright owners, some say
because Disney wanted it that way. I think a coypright term of about 15
years for non-computer literary works, and perhaps 5 years for computer
software, would be ideal.

So I think we can both agree that copyright today goes too far.

I don't think that computer source should have copyright protection period. If you don't want anyone to find out how you did something, don't publish it. If you goal is to teach others how to program something, fine, publish the heck out of it, but don't make it some kind of religion. Trade secret laws are totally adequate for protecting software source. Copyright laws should apply to the binaries that you produce, just like they apply to music and video recordings.

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