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Re: complete clone of the debian website

> > Is this the same kind of uncertainty that exists about whether computer
> > source is subject to copyright protection at all?

On Fri, Jun 02, 2000 at 02:33:31PM -0400, Mike Bilow wrote:
> Copyright protects the "essential character" of a "work of
> In the case of a computer program, the source code is clearly included
> within the scope of essential character: because the purpose of a
> computer program is to be run on a computer, the source code which
> is used to generate the executable program is copyrightable. There
> is no doubt or uncertainty about this, if the source code itself is
> published.

And, HTML is the source for what you see on the display.

> In the case of a literary work, the typesetting specifications and
> layout are not part of the essential character of the work, and are
> not protected within the scope of copyright. The issue of whether
> page numbers are subject to copyright has actually been litigated
> inconclusively.

HTML shares some characteristics with typesetting specifications,
but I don't see how anyone could confuse the two.

> > What we have here is evidence that a work has been copied.  That the
> > evidence itself might or might not be copyrightable doesn't mean that
> > it's not evidence.
> No one disputes that much of the Debian web site has been copied.  If
> Debian had a copyright notice such as "All rights reserved," then this
> would be an open-and-shut case of copyright infringement.  The problem is
> that Debian, for whatever reason, has chosen to license the copyright on
> its web site subject to the OPL.

So the question is: did they follow the terms of the OPL.

I don't see any reason to ask:  Is this a copyrighted work, protected
by the OPL.

> The relevant question then is: Has API violated the OPL license terms
> and, if so, to what extent? API is not using any of the exact words
> from the Debian web site in the rendered text. At most, API has used
> some of the exact words from the Debian web site in the unrendered
> text, such as the META tags. Is any unrendered text part of the
> essential character of a web site? That is far from clear.

This is only relevant if there's a question about whether we're
dealing with a copy of an OPL licensed document.  You already 
stated that there's no question of that.

> The real problem is that API has appropriated the artistic content of
> the Debian web site. The focus of the OPL is on the literary content
> of the work of authorship, in the sense that the work is a book. It
> is not clear that, under the license terms of the OPL, Debian can
> raise a meaningful objection to what API has done. This was clearly
> not what was intended by Debian in choosing to license its web site
> content under the OPL, nor does it seem likely that this was what was
> intended by the author of the OPL. Nevertheless, relying upon the
> actual wording of the OPL itself, I am not sure that what API has done
> is a violation of the copyright license.

It might be *easy* (for some definition of easy) to fix the html so that
it's not a copy of our site any more, but that doesn't mean that it's
*been* fixed.


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