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Re: GPL and command-line libraries

On Sat, Nov 27, 2004 at 11:07:02AM -0500, Anthony DeRobertis wrote:
> If it isn't creative, it isn't a work under copyright law. See, e.g., 
> Fesit v. Rural Telephone Service, holdings (a) and (b). 
> http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=case&court=US&vol=499&invol=340

A problem comes in determining what's creative and what's not.

While the rules for patents aren't quite the same as the rules for
copyrights, it's perhaps illustrative to consider what the government has
considered creative in the context of patents to see just how different
the legal context can vary from the views of experts in some field.
[Fortunately, most (unfortunately, not all) of those cases are so
egregious that they can be ignored.]

That said, in the U.S. at least, fair use would seem to cover most shell
scripts and such.

That said, if a shell script is so large that fair use wouldn't cover it
-- if it's doing things where there are significant sections which are
radically different from the obvious sorts of things that everyone else
is doing -- then we're probably out of the area where "it isn't creative"
adequately describes what's happening.

In other words: most of the time shell scripts aren't going to matter,
but it's not safe to make a general rule that that's always the case.


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