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Re: Distribution of media content together with GPLv2 code in one package?

Francesco Poli <frx@firenze.linux.it> writes:

> On Sun, 18 Apr 2010 19:34:55 +0200 Rudolf Polzer wrote:
> > The typical "editing" performed to that is changing the wording. And
> > there is no form of it that CAN be used to edit it - if someone who
> > is not able to sound like the original speaker is going to e.g. add
> > a part to that tutorial level, he will have to rerecord ALL sounds
> > from scratch.
> > 
> > Assume we will call THAT "editing",
> [...]
> Stop right here!
> I don't think this can be reasonably called "editing" or "modifying".
> This is recreating the work from scratch in a different manner.

It might help to realise that there are multiple “works” to which
copyright applies:

* The digitally-encoded audio recorded from sounds performed at a
  particular time.

* The words, presumably written down in some form.

* The musical arrangement, possibly also written down in some form.

* Likely many other copyrighted works involved in the production of some

Any of these can become software, in that they can be encoded as digital
information. As such, they are something that could be stored in a
computer and distributed with a copyright license, at which point it
becomes interesting to ask about the DFSG-conformance of each of those

That license may or may not allow modification, derived works,
redistribution under the same license terms, and so on. There can also,
of course, be entirely different license terms for each of the above

If I understand Francesco right, he is pointing out that the work most
likely to be distributed is the very first one mentioned above: the
digitally-encoded audio. That work can be modified by editing the
digital audio data in an appropriate program, which thus creates a
derived work of the existing digital audio.

Re-creating the audio recording from scratch, as Rudolf describes, would
be a new copyright work, and I agree that it's disingenuous to describe
this as “editing”. It would be a derived work of the copyrighted words,
musical arrangement, etc.; but it is less clear what its copyright
relationship to the previous digital audio data would be.

> Just like taking a second photograph of a given subject is not
> "modifying" the photograph, but recreating it from scratch in a
> different way.

The potentially confusing aspect here is that, unlike photography,
re-creating an audio recording will often be based on some other
copyright work: the scripted words, the arranged musical notes, etc. But
I think you're right to say that these are *not* the “source form” of
the digital audio; the digital audio itself is the source form of that
software work.

 \      “Every man would like to be God, if it were possible; some few |
  `\          find it difficult to admit the impossibility.” —Bertrand |
_o__)                    Russell, _Power: A New Social Analysis_, 1938 |
Ben Finney

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