[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: GPL on rendered images

On Tue, Dec 14, 2004 at 03:04:42AM +0000, Andrew Suffield wrote:
> 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.

I think what you mean is that no new copyright is created in that creation;
that's correct--I don't get a copyright claim in the C code merely by
converting it, nor does the creator of the converting program.  I don't
know how that looks from a copyright perspective; perhaps it's a derivative
work of the Pascal code, where no new copyright was created in the
derivation, or perhaps copyright simply views it as the same work.  I
don't think it matters here.

The issue isn't whether the conversion itself creates a derivative work,
though.  The issue is whether the "preferred form for modification" is
that C code, now that I've converted it, stuck the Pascal code in cold
storage never to be touched again, and made substantial modifications
to to C code.  I believe the GPL permits this type of evolution, without
requiring the old, useless, outdated Pascal code be dragged along for all

Glenn Maynard

Reply to: