Subject: Re: balance
From: "Andrew C. Greenberg" <werdna@gate.net>
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 19:37:00 -0400

> > 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?

The question cannot be answered in the abstract.  I can conceive of 
fact patterns consistent with these descriptions where the answer 
would be yes, just as I can conceive of fact patterns in which the 
answer would be no,


> > 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.

And sometimes you can!  The devil is in the details.

> > 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?

There exist protectable header files, and there exist non-protectable 
header files.