[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: query from Georg Greve of GNU about Debian's opinion of the F DL

"Georg C. F. Greve" <greve@gnu.org> writes:

>  || On Tue, 15 Apr 2003 10:37:57 -0400
>  || bts@alum.mit.edu (Brian T. Sniffen) wrote: 
>  bts> You've heard all this before, but I haven't seen you answer it.
>  bts> Why does the GFDL prohibit me from making an emacs reference
>  bts> card from the manual?  Sure, I could make a one-sided card where
>  bts> the other side is the Manifesto, but that wastes half my space.
> That is most likely a special case.
> Technical tables are not Copyrightable per se. Their special
> formatting or composition might be, but generally the table itself is
> not.
> This will probably also apply to such reference cards, which is a
> table mapping key presses to functions of a program.
> So it should be perfectly fine if you took the content of that
> reference card and printed it as long as you took care to not include
> things like special formatting or logos.

I suspected you were trolling before, and am now essentially convinced
of it.  But what the heck, I'll feed you:

You're horribly confused about copyright law, reference cards, or
both.  A reference card has a subset of commands, chosen for
usefulness, elegance, or aesthetic appeal.  It has succinct
descriptions, which are a creative effort.  It is definitely
copyrightable on either of those points.

But the issue here is not copying or modifying an existing card, but
deriving a reference card from the Emacs manual.

>  bts> In addition, how does the FSF expect anybody other than itself
>  bts> to distribute a GPL'd emacs with a GFDL manual?  As far as I can
>  bts> see, they cannot be distributed together.
> Why would that be?
> Documents and software are different domains by law.
> Just putting them together -- even if one "links" to the other -- does
> not constitute one assembled work. 
> In fact it is probable that not even hard-linking them by compiling a
> document into a program would legally form one work. For a somewhat
> definitive answer to that we'd need to have a study performed; but it
> is the estimation of a lawyer specialized on Copyright that I have run
> this through.

I'm not at all sure what to say to this.  Are you talking about Berne
Convention copyright law?  Are you really asserting that the comments
and strings in a source file labelled as being under the GPL might not
be under the GPL?


Brian T. Sniffen                                        bts@alum.mit.edu

Reply to: