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Re: GPL traitor !

From: Alan Mackenzie
Subject: Re: GPL traitor !
Date: Thu, 14 May 2009 19:57:08 +0000 (UTC)
User-agent: tin/1.6.2-20030910 ("Pabbay") (UNIX) (FreeBSD/4.11-RELEASE (i386))

In gnu.misc.discuss Hyman Rosen <> wrote:
> Alan Mackenzie wrote:
> > the only support you've offered is a bit of the USA's DMCA which
> > says that the prohibition on "circumvention of technical measures"
> > doesn't apply if you're doing it for interoperability.

> You continue to fail to read the law properly:
>     <> Page 239
>     a person who has lawfully obtained the right to use a copy of
>     a computer program may circumvent a technological measure that
>     effectively controls access to a particular portion of that
>     program for the sole purpose of identifying and analyzing those
>     elements of the program that are necessary to achieve
>     interoperability of an independently created computer program
>     with other programs

> That section should be informing you that "identifying and analyzing
> those elements of the program that are necessary to achieve
> interoperability" is an activity not prohibited by copyright.

Strictly speaking (i.e., the way you've been speaking ;-), no.  It only
allows you to do this with a program restricted by a "technological
measure".  However, in the interests of sanity, I'll accept you can do
this with programs not so restricted.  :-)

The sole purpose for which it allows you to crack a program is to achieve
interoperability between an independently created program and some others.
I'm reading this "independently created" as meaning independent from the
one you're going to crack.

What you're then allowed to do with those identified and analyzed
elements isn't made clear by that text.  I presume you're allowed to use
them to modify the independent program actually to achieve that
interoperability.  That bit of the law doesn't allow to hack the program
you've cracked, though.

Note that it's an independent _program_, not an independent mash of code
with no intrinsic coherent purpose.  You've alluded in another post to
the legal existence of "complete programs"; sort of.  I think it's clear
here that that law is talking about an independently created _complete_

The interoperability in question is between two independently created
(complete) programs.

As I've said, the GPL doesn't even attempt to place restrictions on
interoperability between a GPL'd program and an independently created
one, so all this discussion is a wee bit theoretical.

Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).

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