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Re: The draft Position statement on the GFDL

On Sun, May 09, 2004 at 05:30:28AM -0400, Nathanael Nerode wrote:
> 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.

Loading a register might also also constitute copying, but in the
U.S. that's already covered under fair use.  But then there's L1 cache,
and the L2 cache which wouldn't be covered under fair use.

And, in at least some cases, making a copy in RAM is equivalent to making
a copy on disk (because of swap).  And then there's any cache on the
disk controller or drive, for both the original and swap instances.

It's conceivable that playing a sound recording could constitute making
a copy in air.  Or that playing a video recording could constitute making
a copy in light.

[Alternatively, given that there's a speed of light delay, and that the
wavelength of light is rather small, light could be used as a storage
device (pump bits into light, use a mirror, then read them as they come
back, looping them back out again).  This would require fairly fast
equipment, but high speed optical transmission is already in moderate
production and deployment.]

[[Alternatively, any downloaded software really involves the creation
of multiple copies.  If any of them are illegal then any further copies
would also have to be illegal.]]

I maintain that any jurisdiction which allows for the execution of a
propietary program (one which makes no provision for the user to make
further copies) must have some sort of concept of reasonableness which
grants the same sort of freedoms implicitly.

> > Fundamentally, the technical terminology of copyright law is not the
> > same as the technical terminology of computer programmers.
> > 
> > Most computer operations are "copying" in some for or another.  But,
> > as a general rule, you don't need copyright permission for the computer
> > to perform those operations -
> Except that's apparently not the law in the US.  Apparently you *do*, except
> that a specific and narrow exemption is granted.

Even there, there's a reasonableness aspect to the law -- you wind up
with a copy of the program at every level of the memory hierarchy.

> Basically, yes, but I don't have the reference to hand right now.  Sorry I'm
> so disorganized.

No problem.  I can wait.


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