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Re: Question About GNU General Public License


From: Lee Hollaar
Subject: Re: Question About GNU General Public License
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 2004 00:29:11 +0000 (UTC)

In article <address@hidden> David Kastrup <address@hidden> writes:
><address@hidden> writes:
>> I'm pretty sure a symbol table would fall under the "phonebook"
>> ruling that a table of facts presented in obvious
>> (i.e. non-creative) format and ordering cannot be considered a
>> creative work.
>
>Who claimed that it was?  But it is clearly a derivative (even a
>mechanical derivative) of a creative work, and so the copyright for
>the original creative work applies.

You make it sound like the owner of the copyright in a work somehow has
ownership in the copyright of a derivative work based on that work.
Such is not the case, at least in the United States.

The owner of the copyright for the parent work retains their copyright
in those portions of the derivative work that are from the parent work.
The copyright owner of the parent work also has an exclusive right to
prepare derivative works.  But the copyright owner in the parent work
does not own the copyright in such derivative works unless it is the
creator of the derivative work or receives the copyright by license
or assignment.

If the derivative work was not authorized, then there is NO copyright
in the derivative work.  See 17 USC 103(b).  But any copyright in the
parts of the parent work used in the derivative work remains.

See http://digital-law-online.info/lpdi1.0/treatise6.html#secII.B.1.
for a discussion of the section and its legislative history.

And, of course, for the derivative work to be protected by copyright,
it must have sufficient originality.  A listing of all symbols in a
program might not meet that requirement.


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