Re: complete clone of the debian website
On 2000-06-02 at 12:07 -0400, Raul Miller wrote:
> On Fri, Jun 02, 2000 at 12:01:23PM -0400, Mike Bilow wrote:
> > Yes, but it is not clear to me that this is a violation of the OPL. The
> > problem is that the OPL is overwhelmingly concerned with, and written
> > subject to the assumption that, it is protecting something equivalent to a
> > book. This means that the main thrust of the protected material is the
> > words and the _relevant_ illustrations.
> The exact significance of this interpretation depends on the
> technology used to display the text.
> For example, hit "view source" under netscape, and you'll
> see some rather interesting words.
I recognize your point, but there is enormous uncertainty whether HTML
source is subject to copyright protection at all, as distinct from
rendered HTML. The problem is that copyright protects, by definition, an
actual expression of an idea. This presupposes at least the possibility
of communicating the work to another person.
Is a web site most similar to a literary work, in which the words are
most important? Or is a web site most similar to a visual work, in which
the overall appearance is most important? Or is a web site most similar
to a computer program, in which the raw content is most important?
The OPL clearly assumes that it is being applied to a literary work, so I
think that Debian is stuck with this assumption once it has chosen to
license its web site under the OPL. This is not unreasonable, since the
artistic components of the Debian web site, while distinctive (in the
trademark sense), are by no means central to the purpose of the site.
Insofar as a web site is a literary work, the unrendered parts of the HTML
source are something like the binding and paper size used in a book:
regardless of how distinctive and unusual they may be, such parts can
never be protected by copyright.