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Re: Copyright statements in different forms of a work (was: Choosing a License: GNU APL? AFL 3.0?)



On Sun, 30 Dec 2007 14:12:00 +0100 Arnoud Engelfriet wrote:

> Ben Finney wrote:
> > Arnoud Engelfriet <arnoud@engelfriet.net> writes:
> > > One case where this could become problematic is when permission is
> > > granted to create derivative works. If the derivative work can be
> > > distributed in binary-only form, then the copyright notices in the
> > > source code become irrelevant.
> > 
> > I'm not sure how copyright law treats this in general. Is it the
> > case that a binary form, compiled from a copyrighted source form of
> > a work, is a "derived work", or is it the original copyrighted work
> > itself?
> 
> I'd argue it is a translation and therefore a derivative work.

I was under the impression that a "mechanical" (i.e.: automated, without
any new creative input from the compiler user) translation didn't create
a derivative work, just a different form of the same work.
Compare with photocopying a piece of paper.

By contrast, when I manually translate a work (from a programming or
natural language into another one), I create a derivative.

Of course, the compiler may introduce some copyrighted material (runtime
support and the like) into the binary.  In that case, the binary would
be a derivative of the source code and of the added material...


Was I under a wrong impression?

> 
> The case becomes a little more clear when the source code is edited

This is clearcut: I would say that a derivative is formed, as long as
the editing adds enough creativity.
Is that right?

> and/or additional pieces of software are linked into the binary. 

Let's not get started on the FSF's legal theory of linking: this belongs
in a separate thread, if you are willing to discuss its merits.


My usual disclaimers: IANAL, TINLA, IANADD, TINASOTODP.

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