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Re: Are register names and locations under copyright?

Hi Philipp,

On 01/10/2018 08:11 AM, Philipp Klaus Krause wrote:
> Problem: Hardware vendors want to impose non-free terms on the header
> files (via a copyright claim on the files that the headers were
> generated from).

I'm not a lawyer and this is not a legal advice. My position on this
question is based on my personal experience. Your mileage may vary.

It is widely held in the IT industry, and in technical industries in
general, that interface descriptions and definitions can not be legally
protected as that would stop development and production of compatible
replacement parts by third parties. This widely held belief could be
changed by a court decision or a new law in any given jurisdiction at
any time.

> Are the register names and locations under copyright? Is the generated
> header file under copyright? If yes, who are the owners of the
> copyright? Does the situation vary across jurisdictions?

As it currently stands it is widely regarded that copyright on a header
file that just contains interface definitions is not enforceable. As
Debian packaging is concerned, our FTP masters have the last word on the
question if a particular file could or could not be included in a Debian

Take a look at this example[0]:

  Files: src/stab.h
  Copyright: 1990 by Sun Microsystems, Inc
  Comment: Contains interface definitions.
   Copyright on interface definitions is widely regarded as not
  License: unknown

In hope that this helps,


[0] https://sources.debian.org/src/avra/1.3.0-3/debian/copyright/

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