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Re: web hosting providers' modified .debs

\"John Halton\" <johnhalton@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Jan 25, 2008 9:07 AM, Arnoud Engelfriet <arnoud@engelfriet.net> wrote:
> > My first question would be whether those files would contain sufficient
> > creative expression to qualify for copyright protection. If they don't
> > (and I am not sure something like /etc/make.conf is 'creative'), then
> > GPLv3 cannot apply to those files.
> Not all jurisdictions require "creative expression" for copyright
> protection. The UK, for example, only requires a work to be "original"
> - i.e. not copied. [...]

I think that's a bit *too* broad.  I'm pretty sure that I've been told by
lawyers at seminars that it has to pass some (low) effort threshold to
sustain copyright.  The main legislation (Copyright Designs and Patents
Act 1988) seems not to cover this and I found [2005] EWCA Civ 565 saying:-

33. The essential elements of originality were expounded by the House of
    Lords over century ago in Walter v. Lane [1900] AC 539, a decision
    on the Copyright Act 1842. It remains good law: Express Newspapers
    plc v. News (UK) Ltd [1990] FSR 359 at 365-366. The House of Lords
    held that copyright subsisted in shorthand writers' reports of public
    speeches as "original literary" works. [...]

so I suspect this comes from case law.  

However, I also think some of those configs are going to be subject to
copyright in English law, though; but that unless dreamhost are considered
to be releasing the binaries, there's no obligation to offer source.  It
might be a milder variation on the CD-stealer FAQ at
so it might be worth asking licensing@fsf.

If they are in breach of the licence, it needs one of the package
copyright holders to act, not debian-legal, although subscribers may
help identify the copyright holders, offer explanations and assistance.

Hope that helps,
My Opinion Only: see http://people.debian.org/~mjr/
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