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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cycoj
Member since:
2007-11-04

If derived code is extended to mean code that was originally based on something someone once wrote even though it doesn't include any of the original code, then Wine, GNU, all the BSDs and even Linux are violating copyright.
Wine devs are in the best position as they can claim that they have not ever seen a line of Windows code(dubious as that would be)

dubious? why? AFAIK Wine developers are very careful that noone who has actually seen Windows code can make contributions. If code looks fishy then they don't accept it. Exactly because it would get them in a lot of legal trouble. There was even the thing about ReactOS, with someone accusing them of having used or seen Windows code and they did a full audit to make sure that wasn't the case.

but their software is still obviously built after Windows and using windows as a reference.

As for others, all the original GNU and BSD devs had read and learnt from AT&T code as had Linus from Tanenbaum's. They also used that code as a base for their original systems linking to parts of it either directly or indirectly. The FSF claims that separate binaries are infringing too if they can only work with help from GPL code, so it should work the other way as well.

Firstly quite a bit of code people looked at was/is public domain. Secondly a lot of the programming in Linux BSD ... was actually done according to standards (POSIX anyone) so looking at the standard not the original code. Thirdly if you only take a small part of a program, especially if you even cite the original implementation, that probably falls under fair use.

Basically if that reasoning were to be upheld in Court, most open source software would be infringing on someone's copyright.


IMO you're incorrect. Thing about a book, if you took e.g. Harry Potter and rewrote the whole book changing all the formulations, but not the story you would quite certainly be infringing copyright and probably be sued.

Reply Parent Score: 1

sakeniwefu Member since:
2008-02-26


dubious? why? AFAIK Wine developers are very careful that noone who has actually seen Windows code can make contributions.


I do believe that they try to write original code clean from any MS influence. And I think they are doing a good job.

However, are we to believe that no one has ever seen a function disassembled in a debugger even before working on Wine? That no one has ever used Windows dlls to fill gaps in unreleased versions while they develop a replacement?

I have nothing against any of the projects I named, but if copyright worked as busybox author thinks they do, they too would be infringing. Fair use isn't even a legal figure in most countries.


Firstly quite a bit of code people looked at was/is public domain. Secondly a lot of the programming in Linux BSD ... was actually done according to standards (POSIX anyone) so looking at the standard not the original code. Thirdly if you only take a small part of a program, especially if you even cite the original implementation, that probably falls under fair use.


Uhm no. Some of the alternative utilities were PD. UNIX code and more importantly the kernel and the original C libraries were not PD and all of them started from there.

By the way, the first POSIX version was released in 1989. GNU was started in 1983, and BSD in 1975.


IMO you're incorrect. Thing about a book, if you took e.g. Harry Potter and rewrote the whole book changing all the formulations, but not the story you would quite certainly be infringing copyright and probably be sued.


That is called plagiarism. A close relative of trademarks. I don't think it has ever been applied to software itself as it doesn't make sense.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plagiarism

Edited 2009-12-16 12:59 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

cycoj Member since:
2007-11-04


"
IMO you're incorrect. Thing about a book, if you took e.g. Harry Potter and rewrote the whole book changing all the formulations, but not the story you would quite certainly be infringing copyright and probably be sued.


That is called plagiarism. A close relative of trademarks. I don't think it has ever been applied to software itself as it doesn't make sense.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plagiarism" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plagiarism" rel="nofollow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plagiarism">http://en.wikipedia.or...
"

Rubbish, did you even read the wikipedia article?
From the article:

Plagiarism is not the same as copyright infringement. While both terms may apply to a particular act, they are different transgressions. Copyright infringement is a violation of the rights of a copyright holder, when material protected by copyright is used without consent. On the other hand, plagiarism is concerned with the unearned increment to the plagiarizing author's reputation that is achieved through false claims of authorship.


So lets make the case even clearer:
You are rewriting every phrase of Harry Potter but leave the story as is. At the beginning of the Book you clearly state that your work is a an effort to rewrite Rowlings work in your own words. This cannot be plagiarism because you are not claiming sole authorship, but you still will be sued for copyright infringement and loose. Otherwise you could just create a translation of Harry Potter in your language and you would not commit copyright, are you really trying to say that?

Reply Parent Score: 1