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Re: Reusing GPL code without applying GPL legal in Europe?

Michael Poole wrote:

> I am an American and not familiar with continental European systems,
> but the Berne Convention and its implementation in the USA agree with
> you.  Article 10 of the Berne Convention[1] requires compliance with
> "fair practice" when quoting another's program, and Article 12
> reserves the right of adaptation to the author.  (Under the Uruguay
> round agreement of TRIPS[2], computer programs are classified as
> literary works under the Berne Convention.)
> Including a section of code containing creative expression -- which is

A very complicated subject, to be sure.  The doctrine of merger specifies 
(approximately speaking, IANAL) that when there is no difference between 
the idea and the expression, so that it is functionally impossible to 
express the idea in a different way, then since the idea cannot be
copyrighted, the expression cannot be copyrighted either, even if it is

Related to this is the general rule that if the code is essential for
interoperability, then it can be included without license.  The
interoperability exception exists in the US at least: using interface 
copyrights for lock-in seems to be frowned upon by the courts.  If it is 
theoretically possible to achieve interoperability in any other way 
whatsoever other than copying the code, however, you must do so or get a 
copyright license.  :-)  Sorry no references in this paragraph, so take it 
with a grain of salt and find your own references.

> required for it to be subject to copyright -- for functional purposes
> rather than teaching, commentary, or similar purposes is not fair
> practice (in the US, fair use) and requires license from the rights
> holder(s).

In general yes, but consider idea-expression merger and interoperability
in specific cases.  I guess the correct description is: if there's 
absolutely no other way to implement something other than the specific
code snippet you want to use, you can use it regardless of the copyright
license, but if there is another way, you can't.

> [1]- http://www.law.cornell.edu/treaties/berne/overview.html
> [2]- http://www.wto.org/English/docs_e/legal_e/27-trips_04_e.htm
> Michael Poole

Nathanael Nerode  <neroden@fastmail.fm>

Bush admitted to violating FISA and said he was proud of it.
So why isn't he in prison yet?...

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