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Re: Debian policy on copyright

Jochen Schulz wrote:
> If the number was copyrighted, converting to a different format would
> yield another, uncopyrighted number -- even when done losslessly. The
> other way round, if you could copyright a number with a
> song/movie/whatever, you could even go as far as to say that with just
> one song you could copyright *every* large enough number you can
> imagine, since you can always make up a function that transforms a given
> number into your preferred format which then gets interpreted.

Another way to look at this problem is the question of whether this
program violates copyright:

for int x in 0 .. inf; do print x; done

I claim that it does not, even though it will eventually output the
HD-DVD key, and much later, the complete works of shakesphere, last
week's episode of Lost, etc.

The problem is, these copyrighted works are buried in its vast series of
numbers, in amoung a much larger (with pretentions of infinity)
collection of junk. Finding particular numbers that have value, that
cause someone to laugh or cry, or think differently, or play a game, or
balance their checkbook, still requires just as much work as it would
without the output of the program. The output of the program is in fact,
no help at all in finding these numbers, and thus worthless. It's
because of the work that people do to mine the set of numbers that
their results are copyrightable. 

The total amount of such work in assigning meaning to the numbers
that people can do is finite, and so it's swamped by the much larger set
of numbers in 0 .. inf that we will never find a use for.

see shy jo

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