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


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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...
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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

sakeniwefu Member since:
2008-02-26

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).

Reply Parent Score: 2