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Re: Alternatives to Creative Commons

"Arc Riley" <arcriley@gmail.com> writes:

> IANAL and am not presenting a legal opinion. What I am speaking
> about here is based on numerous conversations I've had with lawyers
> in the "IP" (sic) field.

Such a "field" doesn't really exist. I think the only relevant field
for this discussion is copyright law.

> The issue of code and content is no different than the issue of
> patches or libraries.

One significant difference is that a patch can quite trivially be seen
to be a derivative work of the original, under copyright law; and the
FSF's legal theory is that linking to a library makes a work a
derivative work of that library.

This is contrasted to the bitstream read as input by a running
program, which is *not* thereby made a derivative work and (AFAICT)
has no effect on copyright status of the two bitstreams.

> Labeling one part "code" and another part "content" changes nothing,
> both are software and both are part of the same work - the game
> you're releasing.

I agree entirely that all bitstreams are software, and it makes little
sense from a copyright perspective to try labelling them with
different copyright status based on how they happen to be interpreted
at a given point in time [0].

> Game engines, and more specifically game code, are not "game browsers" - at
> least I've not seen a modern one that is (ScummVM is not modern).  The
> pieces of your content are usually labeled and have parameters specific to
> the game code you're running, ie FighterIcon1.  Of course you can swap out
> FighterIcon1 for another FighterIcon1 with the same requirements met and
> have it run, but you could also replace one of the program's FighterDamage
> function with a replacement that has the same arguments and return types in
> order to change that software's behavior.

I don't think this is of the same kind as the FSF's legal theory that
linking to a compiled library (which requires the header of that
library) causes one's work to be a derivative of the library.

What you're describing is more like writing a "game program" using the
"programming language" of the game engine. None of the copyright work
actually makes its way, even in derived form, into your work. This is
rather analogous to writing a Python program: my program written using
the Python language references many things in the language, but does
not become a derived work of the Python interpreter thereby.

[0]: Eben Moglen's quote from his "Anarchism Triumphant" essay
    <URL:http://emoglen.law.columbia.edu/my_pubs/anarchism.html> is
    apropos in these discussions:

    Software +IBQ- whether executable programs, music, visual art,
    liturgy, weaponry, or what have you +IBQ- consists of bitstreams,
    which although essentially indistinguishable are treated by a
    confusing multiplicity of legal categories +ICY- We can't depend for
    the long run on distinguishing one bitstream from another in order
    to figure out which rules apply.

 +AFw-       +IBw-My aunt gave me a walkie-talkie for my birthday. She says if |
  `+AFw-        I'm good, she'll give me the other one next year.+IB0- +IBQ-Steven |
_o__)                                                           Wright |
Ben Finney

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