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Re: GPL on rendered images



On Mon, Dec 13, 2004 at 08:00:56PM -0500, Glenn Maynard wrote:
> A more likely scenario: you write a program in Pascal, and give it
> to me.  Pascal is a useless language, so I programmatically convert
> it to C (a fairly simple task), and then spend a few weeks improving
> the program in C.

Frankly, you would have a fight to prove in court that the C program
is a derivative work of the Pascal one *at all*. Lawyer-bait, but when
you start out with a scenario like that it will never become any more
clear later on. The best answer you can ever get, starting from this
position, is "maybe". This is largely because a C program that you
want to modify is not going to look much like the original Pascal
program - that's the reason why you converted it in the first place
(the status of the initial, programmatically converted C program is
not relevant; you can drop it from the scenario with no effect since
it is just a restatement of the Pascal program). Remember that
algorithms cannot be copyrighted, only patented: copyright protects
only the expression of the idea, not the idea.

This is the ultimate reason why these things are always so fuzzy. They
all push the boundary of what is actually a derivative, and what is
merely drawing on "reasonable experience". Their conclusions will
invariably be reducable to an expression in terms of this.

-- 
  .''`.  ** Debian GNU/Linux ** | Andrew Suffield
 : :' :  http://www.debian.org/ |
 `. `'                          |
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