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Re: xcdroast does no longer work with wodim: Who to blame?

On Thu, 5 Mar 2009, Matthew Johnson wrote:

On Thu Mar 05 17:23, Russell Coker wrote:

PS  What contributions are you making to any free software projects?  Please
note that trolling this mailing list doesn't count as a contribution.

I think you're being a little harsh Russell, but you're right

Bell, I don't think anyone anywhere disagrees that the copyright on
program source also applies to the binary form of the program, or to
other forms it may be converted into. Otherwise I would  be able to
pirate Microsoft office without it being illegal. After all, I'm not
copying the source. Ditto with other forms of non-text works, I don't
think any judge in the world would consider the mp3 of the latest hits
any less copyrighted than the original and that's even a lossy

That is the question that "derivative works" raises, and my only claim was
that it was a question that all copyright law, whether in the US or in Europe
addresses in some for or another. However, exactly what constitutes derivative
work is an incredibly contentious issue and there are no clear rules. It is
quite possible that a judge could fine that linking program A to library B
does NOT make the result a derivative work of library B. Or he could find it
does. It is at present simply not known.

As I said, the SCO case revolves around what consititutes derivative work.

It therefore follows that any binary inherits the copyright of all the
source components which went to create it, otherwise I could clearly
steal anyone's work merely by adding enough useless code to it.

Of course. That is precisely what copyright to some extent is supposed to do,
encourage others to build on the work. The consitition gives the Federal Gov't
in the US the right to set up copyright to encourage the creation of new
works, not just by protecting the author but by making the work public so
others can build on it. Copyright is a delicate balancing act, trading a
detested (in capitaist circles at least) for of ownership-- monopoly rights--
for public exposure exactly so others can build on it. When does that building
infringe on the monopoly rights? That is tough question which the courts are
constantly battling with.

Hence we reach the same conclusion that Debian did some time ago.

Debian's conclusion comes uncomfortably near to SCO's conclusion, that
derivative works are created if there is any whiff of prior contact. A library is written to be used and to be linked to other programs. That is
its purpose. To argue that in so doing it infects the linking program and
makes it a derivative work could be dangerous, but at the least could be
argued, and has been argued by reasonable people.


William G. Unruh   |  Canadian Institute for|     Tel: +1(604)822-3273
Physics&Astronomy  |     Advanced Research  |     Fax: +1(604)822-5324
UBC, Vancouver,BC  |   Program in Cosmology |     unruh@physics.ubc.ca
Canada V6T 1Z1     |      and Gravity       |  www.theory.physics.ubc.ca/

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