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Re: SFLC's GPL court enforcement -- track record


From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: SFLC's GPL court enforcement -- track record
Date: Wed, 10 Sep 2008 21:38:16 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.0.60 (gnu/linux)

Hyman Rosen <address@hidden> writes:

> David Kastrup wrote:
>> You got a bad case of slandries.
>
> From <http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20080909014304275>,
> quoting from the decision:
>
>     By condensing, synthesizing, and reorganizing the preexisting
>     material in an A-to-Z reference guide, the Lexicon does not
>     recast the material in another medium to retell the story of
>     Harry Potter, but instead gives the copyrighted material another
>     purpose. That purpose is to give the reader a ready understanding
>     of individual elements in the elaborate world of Harry Potter
>     that appear in voluminous and diverse sources. As a result, the
>     Lexicon no longer "represents [the] original work[s] of
>     authorship." 17 U.S.C. ยง 101. Under these circumstances, and
>     because the Lexicon does not fall under any example of derivative
>     works listed in the statute, Plaintiffs have failed to show that
>     the Lexicon is a derivative work.
>
> Look at this, and then tell me that a court will find that a program
> which dynamically links to a library is a derivative work of that
> library.

Depends on what "a program" is (source code or the running executable
assembled in memory as part of the regular operation), and how much it
is structured to depend on that library.

If you have, say, a language interpreter dynamically loaded where your
program modifies its memory allocation and parsing semantics, it will be
rather hard to declare the whole as independent.

It is a grey area, certainly not sufficient for you to dish out abuse
like "GPL uber-advocates who favor the FSF view that just looking at GPL
code funny makes something a derivative work".

If what you call the "FSF views" are solidly renounced in court with
precedental cases, nobody but the FSF will be more glad.  The purpose of
the GPL is to create a code syllabus where most of copyright's
strongholds are abolished, because you have to agree not to use their
power before entering.  If the GPL, and consequently copyright, can be
proven not to have this power in the first place, so much the better.

A world where the GPL has almost no power due to copyright licenses
having almost no power, is certainly one that the FSF would embrace.
Yes, there would the drawback of obfuscation/source secrecy.  But it
would probably be worth the price of being able to copy everything
legally.

-- 
David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum


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