Subject: Re: balance
From: "L. Peter Deutsch" <ghost@aladdin.com>
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 15:34:22 -0700

> Nahhhh.  Copyright law includes the concept of "fair use".  A single word
> portion isn't going to bring down the GPL on you.  Remember, the GPL is a
> license to use a copyrighted work, so if it's not covered by copyright
> law, the GPL doesn't apply.

Does "fair use" extend to a large table all of whose elements are constants
#defined in a copyrighted header file?

Does "fair use" extend to allowing me to distribute patches for GPL'ed code
without putting the patch file under the GPL?

rms (and the attorneys on this list), what do you think about these
examples?

> Nahhhh.  You can't copyright lists of things.

Sometimes you can't copyright lists of things that existed before and
independently of the list.  That isn't the case here.

> A header file is just a list of entry points, and constants.

A header file can be copyrighted just as any other piece of code can.  A
header file is the expression of a software design and is the result of
creative work: it's not just an aggregation.  If a list of command names can
be copyrighted (which it can), then a collection of command names, argument
names, argument types, structure definitions, and parameter values embodying
a software design can surely be copyrighted.

rms / attorneys, do you agree?

-- 

L. Peter Deutsch         |       Aladdin Enterprises :::: ghost@aladdin.com
203 Santa Margarita Ave. | tel. +1-650-322-0103 (AM only); fax +1-650-322-1734
Menlo Park, CA 94025     |        http://www.cs.wisc.edu/~ghost/index.html