Subject: Re: Get ready....
From: Gabe Wachob <>
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 21:01:38 -0700

Arkin wrote:

> Copyright was invented to cover literary work and protect the authors of
> literary work. Legal documents are not literary works. There are so many
> ways you can express the same contractual agreement. Thus, you may
> freely copy all portions of the GPL that are strictly legal clauses.

This is not correct.  The statutory limits of copyright, at least in the
U.S. and many other countries, are all original works fixed in a tangible
medium of expression. Now, I believe there is an exception for purely
functional language, but it is a narrow exception (I don't know more off
the top of my head right now), and I don't think this exception would apply
to the GNU license. I don't know for sure -- this is not legal advice.

> Be careful not to copy the Premable, which may well be considered a
> literary work, and is justly copyrighted. Fear not, as it holds no legal
> meaning whatsoever (English explanations are not considered legally
> binding).

That is also not correct. The title of a section of a contract does not
have a bearing on its enforceability.

> The GPL is, however, subject to trademark restrictions, thus, you cannot
> use the term GPL to promote your license.

Perhaps. I wonder, is GPL registered (it may still have some protection
even if not registered).

> If you say that your license
> is similar to the GPL you must explicitly express how and in what way it
> is different. Anything else is trademark infrigement.

That is not true. I may very well be able to say that my license is similar
and not be infringing on trademark. This is a highly factual question -- it
depends a *lot* on the particular facts of the situation.