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Re: [Jonas Jacobson via RT] [ #305306] icons in proprietary softw

From: John Darrington
Subject: Re: [Jonas Jacobson via RT] [ #305306] icons in proprietary software that resemble free icons?
Date: Wed, 27 Jun 2007 09:04:45 +0800
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.13 (2006-08-11)

This discussion might be more suitable on one of the gtk lists.  For
instance, the print button example is not an icon that I created, but
a stock button from the gtk library.  The icons that I created were 
not "copied" nor "derived"; by which I mean that, I never used the
pixels from any third party's icons nor did I at any stage copy the
files containing copyrighted icons to assist me in creating my own.
However I did look at the  icons of third parties and no doubt that
influenced my work.

If Print/Save/Open icons which appear similar to those in copyrighted
works are a problem, then that means that any Free Software using
libgtk is threatened.

If PSPP's icons which might have similar appearance to other work is
problem, then presumably the dialog boxes are also problematic?
Incidently, the command line interface also looks very similar to
other work so perhaps that would also be a problem.

In my opionion, the icons I produced cannot be made "more different"
without defeating their purpose.  Icons should be a visual metaphor
describing the action which will occur when clicked.  For example, the
Split File icon depicts a datasheet split in half.   I don't see any
other way to depict this action.  However, in instances where the icon
could have been made "more different", I did so, as in the Weight
Cases icon, where other work depicts a traditional early 20th century
laboratory balance, I chose a much simpler see-saw type beam balance. 

If somebody can suggest better visual metaphors for the other icons,
then I'll certainly consider them.  In fact, I'd welcome any offers to
take over the responsibility for all the artistic work on PSPP.


On Tue, Jun 26, 2007 at 12:43:28PM -0700, Ben Pfaff wrote:
     Another belated response to my query about icons.

     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.

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