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Re: GPL traitor !

From: Tim Smith
Subject: Re: GPL traitor !
Date: Thu, 07 May 2009 00:03:26 -0700
User-agent: MT-NewsWatcher/3.5.3b2 (Intel Mac OS X)

In article <slrnh04da1.43u.jedi@nomad.mishnet>,
 JEDIDIAH <jedi@nomad.mishnet> wrote:
>     No, the question is whether or not code that is entirely dependent
> on some other person's work for it's existence is a derivative work. This
> question doesn't magically go away just because you take the GPL out of
> the picture.

The question of whether or not a work is "dependent on" someone else's 
work doesn't even arise, because the relationship "dependent on" is not 
a relationship that has any meaning in copyright law.

This is one of the reasons companies making video game consoles have to 
use technological means to prevent unauthorized games from being 
released for their systems, rather than simply suing unauthorized 
produces for copyright violation.  After all, the games are dependent on 
the operating system in the game console, so by your logic (and the 
FSF's logic), you have to have permission to release the games.

They initially did try the copyright approach, and fell flat on their 
faces in court, because the games were not derivative works of the game 
console's code.  Hence, the companies had to switch to code signing, or 
using patented mechanical interfaces for their cartridges, so they could 
nail unauthorized cartridge makers for patent infringement.

>     If you tried to use this sort of rationale to argue that you can
> freely make Star Trek novels, you would probably get your ass handed 
> to you.

Writing a Star Trek novel would involve copying characters, settings, 
and such from the existing Star Trek works.  Hence, it would run into 
copyright problems.  (Gee...copying leads to copyright problems...who 
would have expected that?).

Writing source code that can call functions from a library does not 
involve copying the library.  There might be some copying of structure 
definitions for the interface, but those are functional elements of the 
library that are not subject to copyright.

--Tim Smith

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