Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 15th Dec 2009 20:51 UTC
GNU, GPL, Open Source Yesterday, we reported that the Software Freedom Law Center had started a lawsuit against several companies who they claim violated the GPL. The subject of the violation was BusBox, and the SFLC claims it is operating on behalf of the authors of BusyBox. Original BusyBox author Bruce Perens, however, begs to differ.
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No, translations are covered by copyright because the Berne convention and copyright laws specifically state so. It is not clear at all that they should be.

Character names are not protected by copyright, their exact description is. If Mi¢key Mou$e wasn't trademarked you could write a story about an antropomorphic mouse called Mi¢key who goes to visit his dog friend called Goof¥ and it wouldn't be protected as long as their descriptions(drawings or text) or significant parts thereof were exactly like the copyrighted ones. General ideas cannot be copyrighted.

The thing being argued here I guess is that the original author has the same rights as derivators for derivative works even when there is nothing there left from their original work to copy. The software people and their lawyers certainly don't seem to think so and neither do some judges in the USA (USL vs BSDi).

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