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[Jonas Jacobson via RT] [ #305306] icons in proprietary software

From: Ben Pfaff
Subject: [Jonas Jacobson via RT] [ #305306] icons in proprietary software that resemble free icons?
Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2007 12:43:28 -0700
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.0.99 (gnu/linux)

Another belated response to my query about icons.

-------------------- Start of forwarded message --------------------
Delivery-date: Tue, 26 Jun 2007 12:42:41 -0700
Delivered-To: address@hidden
Subject: [ #305306] icons in proprietary software that resemble free 
From: "Jonas Jacobson via RT" <address@hidden>
Reply-To: address@hidden
In-Reply-To: <address@hidden>
References: <address@hidden> <address@hidden>
Message-ID: <address@hidden>
Precedence: bulk
RT-Ticket: #305306
Managed-by: RT 3.4.5 (
RT-Originator: address@hidden
To: address@hidden
Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2007 15:06:19 -0400

Hello Ben,

Sorry for the delay in responding to your message. Our lawyer sent along
the following reply:

Graphics are generally copyrightable and, thus, any copying or creation
of derivatives should be avoided.  However, the ideas involved with
icons and such are not protectable by copyright law, only the original
artistic expression.  So, for example, the idea of a button with a
printer image on it to be used to run a print command is not
protectable, but the specific image used likely would be.

Here, it appears as though the only visual difference between the two
sets of icons is the addition of color, which is better than nothing,
for sure, but perhaps not by very much.  If it's possible to create
icons that are more different, that'd be more defensible.

 address@hidden - Wed Sep 06 11:04:02 2006]:
> [I sent a copy of this to address@hidden a month or more ago,
> and did not ever receive a response, so I am trying address@hidden
> now.]
> GNU PSPP has a "toolbar" with a row of icons that invoke various
> functions.  PSPP is a clone of the functionality of the
> proprietary software program SPSS, which also has a toolbar.
> Some of the toolbar icons in PSPP resemble those in SPSS that
> perform similar functions.  The PSPP icons are not
> pixel-for-pixel copies; rather, they were drawn independently but
> depict similar objects, actions, etc.
> Screenshots of SPSS showing the icons in question are not
> difficult to find on the web; e.g.:
> The corresponding PSPP icons are available via Savannah.  You can
> click on any of the .png files at the URL below, then click on
> "View" or "Download" to see the icon:
> Is this acceptable from a copyright point of view, or should we
> design new icons for PSPP that do not resemble those used in
> Thanks!
> Ben

-------------------- End of forwarded message --------------------

Ben Pfaff

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