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Re: Copyright/Distribution questions (Emacs/Orgmode)

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: Re: Copyright/Distribution questions (Emacs/Orgmode)
Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2013 07:13:25 +0900

Richard Stallman writes:

 > Our normal future assignment contract covers all changes to Emacs.
 > Whether it is considered a "contribution" or a "fork" is not a
 > criterion.

I think you should ask your lawyer about that.  As far as I can see,
my 10 line program that calls into Emacs has just as much right to
consider itself "The Work" that happens to link to "code from" Emacs
as Emacs has to consider my program "a change to Emacs."  Do you
really think the FSF owns copyright to my init file, not to mention
the init files of every contributor with a future assignment on file?

Remember, as far as copyright is concerned, Emacs doesn't exist except
as a specific collection of copies of a body of expressive content.
Which copy of Emacs are you claiming Jambunathan modified?  That's a
rhetorical question, of course, but I don't see an easy way to answer
it to support a claim of "it's assigned as soon as you write it".  I
stipulate that it should be easy to show that he modified code with
copyright held by the FSF -- but was that part of Emacs?  Assume for
the sake of argument that at the time the permissions notice said
"This program is part of Org-mode."

It seems to me that the only easy way to assert your claim is to get
the author to stipulate that it is a modification of Emacs.

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