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Re: Corel's apt frontend

On Sun, Oct 31, 1999 at 01:46:56AM -0500, Raul Miller wrote:
> > Given that the GPL has language that is extremely un-restrictive
> > regarding use, I doubt it could be applied to restricting front-ends
> > that run across the exec() interface.
> Once again, this isn't an issue of use, it's an issue of definition.
> The combination of dpkg plus the front end is an example of what the
> GPL defines as a program.

Let's assume for a moment and for the purposes of argument that running
get_it does in fact create a single combined work consisting of get_it and
dpkg. The user who's lawfully aquired both dpkg and get_it may modify either
one by incorporating the other therein as he sees fit without violating
copyright law, so long as the result is not distributed. This is the law in
both the US and in Europe. 

Since in a legal context, actions performed by a machine are considered to
be performed by the operator of that machine and not the machine itself, it
is the operator of the computer running get_it that requests the combination
of the two copyrighted works. I see no reason why get_it's use (or
incorporation) of dpkg at the operator's request would be in any way
affected by copyright law.

This has been tested in court by a software package called Game Genie, which
patches video game software to enable cheating and then executes the result.
Game Genie can also begin execution of a game from a point other than the
intended start. A federal judge ruled that the Game Genie software was not a
derived work of the copyrighted software that it patched and executed, nor
was its publisher responsible for contributory infringement.

Brian Ristuccia

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