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Re: Re: A question about converting code to another programming language

On Saturday, 23 Jul 2005 10:28:05 -7.00, Sean Kellogg wrote:
> On Saturday 23 July 2005 02:40 am, Arnoud Engelfriet wrote:
> > svante@imit.kth.se wrote:
> > > I have a few questions about software developement. One of them is
> > > whether a program written in e.g. Fortran by me or somebody else (who
> > > owns the copyright) is converted to C (not f2c). How is copyright changed
> > > and what about patent issues (maybe not relevant).

What about copyright to the translation when using f2c, is it the
authors of the f2c code?

> > If the transformation from Fortran to C involves creative activity,
> > then the person who did the transformation may hold a copyright in
> > the C-version. Compare a translation from French to English of a
> > book. If it's just a literal translation, then the translator has
> > no copyright.

> To be clear, if someone translates something from Language A to Language B, 
> they do not hold a copyright in the Language B version.  What they hold is a 
> copyright in the expression that is the translation.  This is important 
> because the translator cannot authorize the translation from Language B to 
> Language C, as he does not control the copyright to the underlying work on 
> which any translation effort is based.

Does the same apply for GPLed code? What if you convert GPLed code from
Fortran to C and add enhancements/functionality. Is the Copyright of the
new C code shared between the author of the old Fortran code and the
translator (assuming the translation is not literal). I assume that the
Copyright issues are easier to resolve for GNU code (i.e. where the
authors assign the rights to FSF). 

What if the code is old with a known author/institution but no author
can be found and no clear license is in the code.

What about a clean-room implementation. Is it possible to have access to
the old source code (translation or not) when doing the implementation.
What about a running program in binary code and a users manual.

> This, of course, is the default rule and can be circumvented with good 
> licensing allowing the translator to have full control over their 
> derivative...  but outside of a copyleft context, I can't imagine an author 
> wanting a translator to have the authority to translate back into the initial 
> language and sell competing versions.

Does this case include GPL as well as LGPL code?

> -Sean

(The included text above is copy-pasted since I was not subscribed

Thanks, (different email address compared to above)
Svante Signell <svante.signell@telia.com>

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