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Re: LilyPond, LilyPond snippets and the GPL

From: Henning Hraban Ramm
Subject: Re: LilyPond, LilyPond snippets and the GPL
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2019 11:45:15 +0100

> Am 2019-10-31 um 03:15 schrieb Carl Sorensen <address@hidden>:
> In the US, a typeface is not copyrightable.  But a computer program that 
> makes a font or its glyphs is copyrightable.  

The "program code" of fonts is juristically not regarded a program, because it 
is usually auto-generated by a design tool.
And the design of a font is not copyrightable in some legislations (e.g. 
Germany), because it’s regarded craftmanship and not art, because letters have 
to adhere to traditions to be readable. In other legislations (e.g. UK) the 
craftmanship of the design *is* copyrightable (see “sweat of the brow”).

If the design of the letters would be regarded art, a license would be 
necessary for every single use of a letter!
The copyright and licensing of fonts is a really complicated matter that I 
won’t cover here; you can look it up in Wikipedia. There is an international 
treaty about the copyright on fonts, but since it was not ratified by enough 
countries it’s not effective.

BTW there is _no_ copyright on the design of sheet music, even if some music 
publishers claim it.

LilyPond-generated PostScript code I see equivalent to the generation of fonts. 
But it might be juristically critical that code snippets get included in that 
PostScript code.

While publishing of LilyPond source files –and apparently also 
LilyPond-generated PostScript– touches the copyright of the musical content as 
well as the copyright of the code (included in LilyPond’s distribution or from 
other sources), publishing of PDF and MIDI files regards only the copyright of 
the contents, since there is no LP code left in them.

Greetlings, Hraban
fiëé visuëlle
Henning Hraban Ramm

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