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Re: Justice draws nigh

From: RJack
Subject: Re: Justice draws nigh
Date: Wed, 08 Dec 2010 15:55:28 -0000
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20100228)

Hyman Rosen wrote:
On 5/13/2010 12:19 PM, RJack wrote:
the concept of specific intellectual property

It is the case, given US copyright law, that copying and distributing
a work which is a derivative work of another even several generations removed, or copying and distributing a combined work which contains a copyrighted work, requires permission from the rights holder of that work.

Yes the contractual permissions of both rights holders is required to
DISTRIBUTE the respective independent parts (preexisting and modifying)
of the combined work. Quite true.

BUT in order to REGISTER a derivative work as a whole more is required
-- OWNERSHIP is required.

Erik Andersen does not own BusyBox:

The version 0.60.3 of Busybox upon which Mr. Andersen claims copyright
registration in the lawsuits is to a great extent my own work and that
of other developers. I am not party to the registration. It is not at
all clear that Mr. Andersen holds a majority interest in that work.

Mr. Andersen, his past employers and Mr. Landley appear to have removed
some of the copyright statements of other Busybox developers, and appear
to have altered license statements, in apparent violation of various laws...

Much as other Busybox developers wish to support the general cause of
getting companies to comply with simple Free Software Licenses, some of
the other developers and I are becoming annoyed with Mr. Andersen and
Mr. Landley's apparent violation of our own rights, and SFLC's treatment
of our interest. We have held off, to date, to avoid confusing issues,
but our patience is limited."

In the case of BusyBox, BusyBox is a combined work containing works which are themselves derivative works, and is itself a derivative work created anew each time its contents are changed or rearranged. It is the nature of software projects to throw off many versions, and it is the nature of open projects to have many authors. Comes time to assert a copyright claim, sorting out what must be registered is complicated. But that difficulty does not detract from the claim of infringement, it merely requires guidance from the court on what needs to be registered, and having that, registration can be done and
 the case can proceed.

The preexisting contribution may be registered by the preexisting
author. The modifying contribution may be registered by the modifying
author. They own their respective contributions but a derivative work
consists of mutually exclusive parts (17 USC 103(b).

If Erik Andersen wishes to REGISTER *his* own source code contributions
that he owns for any version of BusyBox then my all means let his do so.
Let him then sue whomever he wishes for copyright infringement of *his*
own contributions that he has properly registered.

It is my fervent hope that the SFLC lawyers *do* attain at a least a
modicum of competency in copyright law such that a GPL licensed work can
be properly registered and the license evaluated on its merits by the court.

RJack :)

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