Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 30th Jan 2012 14:10 UTC
General Unix "One of the fun examples among all the copyright fuss is the extreme example of copyright claims made by AT&T some time in the 1980s. It's the /bin/true program. This is a dummy' library program whose main function is to make it easy to write infinite loops (while true do ...) in shells scripts. The 'true' program does nothing; it merely exits with a zero exit status. This can be done with an empty file that's marked executable, and that's what it was in the earliest unix system libraries. Such an empty file will be interpreted as a shell script that does nothing, and since it does this successfully, the shell exits with a zero exit status. But AT&T's lawyers decided that this was worthy of copyright protection." Three blank lines. Copyrighted. You can't make this stuff up.
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RE: Gpl?
by raboof on Mon 30th Jan 2012 18:25 UTC in reply to "Gpl?"
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Intersting, does adding text to the file make it derivative work?

If you take a file and add text to it, the resulting file is a derivative of the original file, yes.

Should any text be considered to be derivative from it then? So protecting empty file with GPL automatically makes everything in the world GPL'ed?

No, copyright does not work like that: copyright protects against copying, but (unlike patents) not against others who independently come up with the same thing.

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