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[DotGNU][OT] The GPL and Creativity : What is Intent, Fair Use and why d

From: James Michael DuPont
Subject: [DotGNU][OT] The GPL and Creativity : What is Intent, Fair Use and why does it have no meaning in Free Software?
Date: Sun, 16 Mar 2003 02:05:27 -0800 (PST)

This is a bit off topic, so I took it out my my previous post.
I hope you enjoy my philosophical musings.

Now, let me say one thing about Intent.

The idea of Intent is like the idea of God, it is just a personal
belief, that may make your life easier to live. Like God, it does not
have anything to do with Free Software.

When you make a program, you have an intended audience, with and
intended usage. These are terms and concepts of marketing, product
definition and sales. 

They have nothing to do with software and with licensing.

If I make a derived work from your program, It may have a different
intended market. Derived works I create are brand new products, with a
different audience.

A derived work is my creative energy expressed in software. 

The entire idea behind the tunes[8], introspector[9], Prism[2] project
and many other related ideas are to break down the false conceptual
walls in the MINDS of the programmers.

The only barriers that I encounter are mental and political. People try
and see software as Turf, as being under Ownership. This is exactly
what the GPL breaks down. 

Via an fully reflective and introspective interface you do not have
boundaries. There are not differences between modules, no more
artificial walls that keep people out.

I find that most people cannot accept the freedoms that the GPL give
the users, they are afraid of them. The people in a state of Fear
creates FUD and spread it around. This is just normal human behavior
that we have to address and deal with. I will not anymore accept FUD
driven arguments that try and limit my creativity.

 Life is too short to spend living in FUD.

The creativity of the author cannot be limited in anyway by copyleft,
only by a more binding contract. There is no contract between the
publisher and the receipient of GPL'd software. Only the copyright and
copyleft gives any limitation on that. 

The funny think about the GPL is that it gives you the freedom to be

You could argue that my software would be unfair use, but I don't think
that would hold up, Not if you put your software under the GPL. 

That basically revokes the fair use guidelines :  even if the software
is unfairly used, the GPL grants me permission to make derived works
that would normally be copyright infringement. 

See the fair use FAQ [6]
When is copying is allowed by fair use provisions of the law?

There are no explicit, predefined, legal specifications of how much and
when one can copy, but there are guidelines for fair use. Each case of
copying must be evaluated according to four factors:
    * The nature and substantiality of the material used--In general,
when other criteria are met, the copying of extracts that are "not
substantial in length" when compared to the whole of which they are
part may be considered fair use.
    * The effect of use on the potential market for or value of the
work--In general, any use that supplants or diminishes the normal
market for the original work is considered an infringement, but a use
does not have to have an effect on the market to be an infringement.

Although all of these factors will be considered, the fourth factor is
the most important consideration in determining whether a particular
use is "fair." Where a work is available for purchase or license from
the copyright owner in the medium or format desired, copying of all or
a substantial portion of the work in lieu of purchasing or licensing a
sufficient number of "authorized" copies would be presumptively unfair.
Where only a small portion of the work is to be copied and the work
would not be used if purchase or licensing of a sufficient number of
authorized copies were required, the intended use is more likely to be
found to be fair. 

Now, you can see that by repacking the pnet compiler and IL processor
into a new and easier to use package, that it may be considered to be
unfair use in terms of copyright. But not under the copyleft. In fact,
the Copyleft gives you the explicit right to make competitive products
that may diminish the market value of the previous version.

That is the price you pay when you publish under the GPL.

There are alot of good gpled functions in pnet, they should be usable
by gpled modules. That is the rule, and I abide by it.

Also, let me say something about intention, 
I dont belive in intent. I dont like the term

Programs are collections of functions, functions get reused. 

So people try and define consciousness[7].
I say that we are just accidental. I for one write in a chaotic and
accidental style. 
That is why I feel that accidental-programming is a much better term
then intentional-programming[2][3][4]. 

Intent goes right out the window, along with all the religion and
belief systems. They have no place in programming. We can remove the
entire question of intent as a pure philosophical question.

Intended usage is not binding and it is not part of the license. The
GPL  does not take away any freedoms from the user to use the software
for things it was not intended on being used for. 

Also, it is very hard to define the intended use of program, I wonder
how you can clearly and concisely define them? Even then as soon as you
release your code under the GPL, the intent can be changed at a moments

That is the freedom the GPL grants.
The GPL only makes sure that derived works remain free.

I hope you enjoyed my sharing of thoughts on this matter.


[1] Accidental Programming
[2] Prism Project and Itentional Programming
[3] Previous posts of mine about IP
[4] Intentional Programming Group at yahoo
[5] My proposal for Accidental Programming
[6] Fair Use FAQ
[7]Representational Theories of Consciousness
[8] Tunes
[9] Introspector Project

James Michael DuPont

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