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Re: "object code" in the GPL and printed copies

(BTW I'm subscribed, no need to Cc)

Alexander Terekhov <alexander.terekhov@gmail.com> wrote:

> Object code is a well established term. GNUspeak is irrelevant.

I'd still be interested in GNUspeak - is there a definition of object
code as the FSF sees it?  There's none in the GPL FAQ.

> The Copyright Act defines a computer program as"a set of
> statements or instructions to be used directly or indirectly in
> a computer in order to bring about a certain result. " 17 U.S.C.
> § 101. Computer programs can be expressed in either source
> code or object code. "Source code is the computer program
> code as the programmer writes it, using a particular programming
> language." Compendium of Copyright Office Practices,
> § 321.01. Source code is a high level language that people can
> readily understand. "Object code is the representation of the
> program in machine language [binary] . . . which the computer
> executes." Id. at § 321.02. 

So if we (Debian) have decided that we treat documentation alike
software, the obvious way to extend this definition (and probably this
is also needed for other things like elisp byte-code) that object code
is also every other representation of the program [binary] that is
executed or interpreted by programs on the computer.

Which would mean that a printed copy would not fall under object code.
And therefore the GPL would not allow distribution on paper at all.

What does the law say about distributing printed copies of things (PDF
files, cool pictures, whatever) that you do not have any license for -
may I print a picture from any website and hang it up on the university

Regards, Frank
Frank Küster
Single Molecule Spectroscopy, Protein Folding @ Inst. f. Biochemie, Univ. Zürich
Debian Developer (teTeX)

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