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Re: copyright on binary packages

On Tue, Oct 12, 2004 at 01:05:29PM -0400, Brian Thomas Sniffen wrote:
> Matthew Palmer <mpalmer@debian.org> writes:
> > On Tue, Oct 12, 2004 at 06:40:38PM +0900, Olaf Meeuwissen wrote:
> >> I've been "pestered" by the people who pay for the development of
> >> several of our packages to add a blurb claiming copyright on the
> >> *binary* packages we build and distribute.  Binary packages built
> >> and distributed by others are not to be covered by this copyright
> >> claim.
> >> 
> >> Now this strikes my as pretty off-the-wall and impractical, but I
> >> am wondering whether anyone knows of "prior art" in this area.  If
> >
> > I think it goes beyond impractical -- I believe it's not legally
> > enforceable.  The transformation from source to binary form does not contain
> > any elements of creative input; the process itself is trivially
> > reproducable, and with the same set of inputs you will produce identical
> > output every time.
> But the copyright is still held by the author of the source.

Indeed.  But that's not the issue at hand.

> Additionally, a repository of packages, with particular selections of
> quality software, is copyrightable in the same way that an anthology
> or magazine is copyrightable.

Again, not what is being discussed.  The creation of an anthology or
collection involves creative input; two people, faced with the same
"possibles" set, and even the same criteria for selection, will quite
possibly choose differently.  The same does not apply to the compilation of
a piece of software, unless the build process is horribly fucked up.

- Matt

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