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Re: GPL traitor !

From: Alan Mackenzie
Subject: Re: GPL traitor !
Date: Mon, 11 May 2009 21:57:08 +0000 (UTC)
User-agent: tin/1.6.2-20030910 ("Pabbay") (UNIX) (FreeBSD/4.11-RELEASE (i386))

Hi, Rjack,

In gnu.misc.discuss Rjack <> wrote:

> Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...

> "In Baystate Technologies, Inc. v. Bentley Systems, Inc., 946 F. Supp.
> 1079 (D. Mass. 1996), decided December 6, 1996, the district court of
> Massachusetts held that the data structure names and the
> organization of data structures of a mechanical computer aided design
> program are not copyrightable. The program elements at stake in
> Baystate are in important respects indistinguishable from the larger
> class comprised of names that must be used and parameters, formats
> and structures that must be employed in order to invoke the
> functionality of particular proprietary microprocessors, operating
> systems, computer languages and application programs. The Baystate
> decision therefore supports the broader conclusion that ?using? or
> ?copying? such labels and structures in order to create compatible
> works is lawful under the Copyright Act."


Thanks for that.  It's a different scenario from the GCC/new code
generator one.  The above case states that the information needed to
USE the CAD system must be made available - that is, the _external_
interfaces to the OS, and so on, thus allowing the owners of the CAD
system to write their own programs for it.  It's analogous to compelling
the writers of a compiler to document all the ways of calling it, the
meanings of all the option flags, all the error messages, and so on.

What that case didn't insist on was that the _internal_ OS details
had to be disclosed and given unrestricted to anybody wishing to
build a competitive OS incorporating parts of the original OS.  That
would be analogous to insisting that somebody should be allowed
unrestricted use of the internal data formats of GCC to write a new code
generator, thus creating a competitive proprietary compiler incorporating
the bulk of GCC.

> Sincerely,
> Rjack :)

Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).

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