Re: Corel's apt frontend
From: Raul Miller <email@example.com>
> My argument is that since the corel front end enhances dpkg it counts
> as a derivative work based on dpkg for the purpose of copyright law,
> just as editorial notations on a screen play create a derivative work
> even though the text of the screen play is in some sense unchanged.
I agree that it enhances dpkg. The problem is that it does it without
copying. You could postulate that the use of a command-line interface is
a device contrived for the explicit purpose of circumventing the copyright,
but only if the command-line interface was created for that purpose. The
command-line interface, however, pre-existed Corel's work and was made
explicitly for other programs, such as shell scripts, to call it.
If we want to assert a copyright on that command-line interface, what
we need is a copyright on the list of commands that can be fed to that
interface, so that all programs that call those commands are infringing on
that copyright. Then, we have to write in exceptions for shell scripts and
normal use, everything except enhanced front-end programs. I doubt the result
would be a DFSG-compliant license. And it's clearly an API copyright.
If we want to modify the GPL to prevent this from happening in the future, I
think we can do that and keep it free software. I don't see how we can do this
retroactively without shooting ourselves in the foot.