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Re: GPL traitor !


From: Hyman Rosen
Subject: Re: GPL traitor !
Date: Thu, 14 May 2009 16:11:38 -0400
User-agent: Thunderbird 2.0.0.21 (Windows/20090302)

Alan Mackenzie wrote:
In gnu.misc.discuss Hyman Rosen <address@hidden> wrote:
Alan Mackenzie wrote:
Does copyright law have any notion of "a complete program"?  ;-)

No. Copyright law has the notion of a collective work, which is
    <http://www.copyright.gov/title17/circ92.pdf>
    a work, such as a periodical issue, anthology, or encyclopedia,
    in which a number of contributions, constituting separate and
    independent works in themselves, are assembled into a collective
    whole.

The law's definition of a computer program is
    A “computer program” is a set of statements or instructions to be
    used directly or indirectly in a computer in order to bring about
    a certain result.

This definition does not contain any notion of completeness, that is,
that the computer program must be able to perform its function without
the assistance of other computer programs.

Ah, it's context-snipping time, is it?  Let me put the context back
again for you:

[Hyman Rosen]:
"Mere aggregation" is the placing of multiple separate programs onto a
single medium for convenience in distribution. It is not the linking
together of multiple components into a single binary file to form a
complete program.

In the above paragraph, you have used the notion of a "complete program"
to distinguish it from a "mere aggregation".  I agree with you here.
Yet a bit higher up, you answered "No" to the legal existence of a
"complete program".

Correct. By "complete program" in this context I meant a single file that
is "ready-to-run" given the appropriate computer and operating system. It
is not a legal term, just a conventional one. In legal terms, it is a
collective work:
    A “collective work” is a work, such as a periodical issue, anthology,
    or encyclopedia, in which a number of contributions, constituting
    separate and independent works in themselves, are assembled into a
    collective whole.

If you like, recast my paragraph above as
    "Mere aggregation" is the placing of multiple separate programs onto a
    single medium for convenience in distribution. It is not the linking
    together of multiple components into a single binary file to form a
    collective work.

You seem to be being inconsistent, here.  Would you care to resolve this
inconsistency?  Does copyright law recognise the concept of a "complete
program" or doesn't it, or is it a bit squidgy?

I trust I have explained this to your satisfaction?


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