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Re: The draft Position statement on the GFDL

Raul Miller wrote:

> On Sun, May 09, 2004 at 09:01:54AM -0400, Michael Poole wrote:
>> 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.
> Which, in the context of the GFDL covers a lot of ground (since anyone
> can become an owner, and the question is what happens after the person
> has lost copyright priviledges on copies they own).
No, it doesn't cover a lot of ground.  

First of all, these rights might not be allowed at all for something ruled
to not be a "computer program".

Second, "an essential step in the utilization of the computer program" is
very, very limited.  Creating a backup copy permits a little bit more, but
probably many reasonable uses (mirroring to hundreds of secure sites)
wouldn't qualify.

> There probably are scenarios where a reasonable person doing reasonable
> things could get in trouble from the GFDL's overly broad statement about
> technical measures on copying, but I've yet to see one that I consider
> a clear problem.
Well, we have.  :-)

> Nor have I been sufficiently clever to think one 
> up myself.

> The way I see it, if a person is going to get in trouble for using
> technical measures to prevent other people from making copies of some GFDL
> documentation there must be something systematic about this control --
> random efforts and random effects don't seem to constitute control.
It doesn't say that.  Or anything close to that.

Certainly, intent might matter.  Isolated, unsystematic efforts would almost
certainly count, though.

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

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