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Re: European Directive on Copyright Law (91/EC/250) wrt open source

On Sun, May 02, 2004 at 07:35:40PM +0100, MJ Ray wrote:
> For those not wanting a version in Microsoft Word with (?)Estonian, 
> this directive's text is also available in English HTML at 
> http://europa.eu.int/smartapi/cgi/sga_doc?smartapi!celexapi!prod!CELEXnumdoc&lg=EN&numdoc=31991L0250&model=guichett
> Other languages can be found by using the number 31991L0250 on EUR-Lex 
> via http://europa.eu.int/
> On 2004-05-02 13:07:38 +0100 Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton 
> <lkcl@lkcl.net> wrote:
> >where such libraries could be construed to have "interfaces", and
> >where the GPL is used to force a monopoly position, then any company
> GPL cannot force a monopoly (in the meaning of EU Competition Law), 
> can it? Monopolies are dominant businesses, not dominant literary 
> works. I'm sure we've had EU-GPL-FUD because people misunderstood that 
> before.

 this is about interoperability rather than monopoly.

 in the instance where, say, samba dominates ports 137, 138, 139
 and 445 and all services running thereon (about 20), and in the
 instance where such dominance requires approximately 10 man-years
 of work to replace a single component with an enhanced proprietary
 version, or to even to add a new component off the back of the
 network infrastructure that samba supports, then yes, it could
 be said that the GPL is making it impossible to "interoperate".

> >or open source project with an incompatible license is entitled to
> >request a compatible license and if they do not receive one they
> >are entitled to treat the "interface" - i.e. the header files and
> >effectively the entire library - as not being subject to copyright
> >law!

> Can you tell me what part of the directive actually says that, or 
> which you are basing this conclusion on, please? I did not find it at 
> a first inspection. 

 it is an interpretation (conclusion).

 having re-read this document, i also should point out that
 the document you see referenced (above) does NOT contain the
 parts about licensing and reverse engineering that i saw in
 this same document, in 2000.

 i must therefore apologise quite profusely because the
 conclusion i came to was based on the version that i saw,
 and i am now wondering where the hell it has got to.

 it made explicit the description of software-software and
 software-hardware interfaces (and therefore by inference,
 "interoperability" between software-and-software was covered),
 made specific provisions for networking, specifically mentioned 
 that licensing could be requested and, if not granted, reverse
 engineering was allowed for interoperation but NOT to determine
 [trade secrets] things like faster or better implementations.
 _this_ version is NOT the version of the same 91/EC/250 directive
 that i saw three years ago!

 it is radically and subtly different.

 if anyone knows what's going on, i would love to know.

> I did see there are limited rights to 
> decompilation and I'm not sure whether a GPL-covered work would be 
> classed as not "readily available" thereby qualifying for that 
> section.

	Whereas the function of a computer program is to communicate
	and work together with other components of a computer system
	and with users and, for this purpose, a logical and, where
	appropriate, physical interconnection and interaction is
	required to permit all elements of software and hardware to
	work with other software and hardware and with users in all
	the ways in which they are intended to function;

	Whereas the parts of the program which provide for such
	interconnection and interaction between elements of software
	and hardware are generally known as 'interfaces`;

	Whereas this functional interconnection and interaction
	is generally known as 'interoperability`; whereas such
	interoperability can be defined as the ability to exchange
	information and mutually to use the information which has
	been exchanged;

	Whereas, for the avoidance of doubt, it has to be made clear
	that only the expression of a computer program is protected
	and that ideas and principles which underlie any element of
	a program, including those which underlie its interfaces,
	are not protected by copyright under this Directive;

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