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Re: The draft Position statement on the GFDL

Nathanael Nerode writes:

> Well, making a copy in RAM is making a copy, legally; this is apparently the
> caselaw in the US.  I'm sorry that I don't have the reference.
> There is a specific legislated exemption in copyright law for the copies
> made in the course of normal use (or some such), I believe, though I don't
> have it on hand.
> Perhaps I could convince someone else to dig up the references?  :-D

The exception is in 17 USC 117(a); it allows copying by the _owner of
a copy_ if it is either "an essential step in the utilization of the
computer program" or a backup copy.

Two cases from the early 1990s (MAI Systems Corp v. Peak Computer,
Inc. and Advanced Computer Services of Michigan, Inc. v. MAI Systems
Corp.)  held that 17 USC 117(a) did not apply to maintenance companies
such as Peak and ACS, and that they were liable for copyright
infringement when they ran MAI's programs on customers' computers.

In response, Congress DMCA added a "Computer Maintenance or Repair"
exemption (17 USC 117(c)) as part of the DMCA to protect independent
service organizations from similar cases.  (Shocking that the DMCA
grants new rights to people besides copyright owners, but there you
have it.)

The MAI Systems cases _did_ both hold that copying into RAM counts as
making a copy under the Copyright Act, so someone who copies a program
into RAM needs a license or protection under some other section of the
Copyright Act (or both).


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