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Re: GPL on rendered images

On Mon, 13 Dec 2004, Glenn Maynard wrote:
> On Mon, Dec 13, 2004 at 02:10:30AM -0800, Don Armstrong wrote:
> > Model -> C source
> > PNG#1 -> machine code
> > PSD   -> disassembly output
> > PNG#2 -> assembled dissassembly
> In the above case, if the disassembled output becomes my preferred
> form for modification--if it's what I actually use to modify the
> program--I don't have to distribute the C source. It's not useful
> for modifying the binary I'm distributing, so it certainly can't be
> the preferred form for modification.  That's one of the strengths of
> the GPL's definition of "source": it permits the source format to
> change, not locking the work into its original form.

So in this case, if you had someone else take a GPLed work, modify it
it, compiled it and give it to you, then you made some trivial
modifications to the binary, and then only distributed the unmodified
binary as source you would be ok?

I'd argue very strongly that you wouldn't be ok, and I would suspect
that the authors of the GNU GPL would feel similarly. Intermediate
modification of a work in a different form from the original form is
not a valid method to get around the prefered source requirement.

> > 1: Even if you disagree if the GPL actually requires this, I'd
> > hope that you'd agree that it's best to include the type of
> > information that will make subsequent modification feasible,
> > licensing arguments aside.
> Within reason, sure.  In some cases, no; eg. for videos, where the
> "source" material may be a lossless encoding, which is often a
> hundred times the size of the video, well beyond my means to
> distribute.

Still, you should strongly consider distributing it, especially if
this lossless encoding is necessary to make further modificatins to
the work in place. For example, if you were to make a different cut of
the video, would you go back to the original lossless encoding? Or
would you use an intermediate encoding?

This will enable subsequent people to actually perform the
modifications necessary to improve your work. Consider how your
collaborators would be able to function if you fell off the face of
the planet and took your lossless encoding with you?

Don Armstrong

He was wrong. Nature abhors dimensional abnormalities, and seals them
neatly away so that they don't upset people. Nature, in fact, abhors a
lot of things, including vacuums, ships called the Marie Celeste, and
the chuck keys for electric drills.
 -- Terry Pratchet _Pyramids_ p166

http://www.donarmstrong.com              http://rzlab.ucr.edu

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