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Re: Re: What if it were you instead of Linus?

by theorbtwo (Prior)
on Mar 11, 2004 at 15:26 UTC ( #335840=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re: What if it were you instead of Linus?
in thread What if it were you instead of Linus?

There is a concept in copyright law of a minimum size below which something cannot have been a copyrightable work. That bug report, in purticular, would appear to be well below the limit.

If that is the case, it does not matter if you copied the bug report of someone else without having the right to copy (which is what copyright means, of course).

Update: The second paragraph is wrong in it's reasoning: there is a certian minimum size, below which it is not possible to restrict the right to copy: everone has it, and it is impossible to lack that right.

The interesting question, of course, is what is that limit.


I am not a lawyer.


Comment on Re: Re: What if it were you instead of Linus?
Re: Re: Re: What if it were you instead of Linus?
by etcshadow (Priest) on Mar 11, 2004 at 18:34 UTC
    There is a concept in copyright law of a minimum size below which something cannot have been a copyrightable work.... The interesting question, of course, is what is that limit.

    Well... it is an interesting question... I imagine it is highly subjective and depends on the individual case in question. There's one fairly public example: a certain haiku used for email certification. The basic idea of this system is that email senders would include this haiku in x-headers, and mail relays would only allow such email through. Then, the terms of use for the copyright liscense are, in effect, that the mail is not spam. Thus, if you send spam without this header, it will get routed off into the void, and if you do use this header for spam, then you are violating copyright, and, thus, remedies are available.

    It probably won't work, but it's an interesting idea, and it seems apropos of the question.

    ------------ :Wq Not an editor command: Wq

      I've heard that particular spam-defense before, and it's clever. The problem is that you are stuck with the copyright holder's definition of "spam", which has a high possiblity for abuse. It's potentially a new ICANN/VeriSign in the making. Sure, you could get everyone to try using a new haiku with a different copyright holder, but once the idea is entrenched, it'll be about as easy to switch everyone to that haiku as it is to switch everyone to alternative DNS root servers.

      (Meta-thought: a lot of proposed or even implemented spam solutions are as bad or worse than the problem. This is one of them.)

      ----
      : () { :|:& };:

      Note: All code is untested, unless otherwise stated

Re: Re: Re: What if it were you instead of Linus?
by tilly (Archbishop) on Mar 11, 2004 at 23:10 UTC
    There is a concept in copyright law of a minimum size below which something cannot have been a copyrightable work.

    Can you point me to any statute indicating this?

    There is a concept in the practical management of many projects that any patch below, say, 10 lines can be merged without worrying about copyright issues. I do not know of any court that has ruled this to be the case, though. And I don't recall seeing any lawyer comment definitively either way on it.

      Well, that's a very good question. Like I said, IANAL. I thought the GNU web site would be a good place to start looking, but I only found this. It repeats my concept of too-small-to-be-copyrightable, with some additional information, but does not give any information as to where this is encoded in the law (but I doubt the GNU project would say it was OK if it were not encoded in law). It also mentions that bug reports of the sort that PM was worried about are ideas, not code, and thus copyright does not apply to them. (Patents might, but they're pretty clearly obvious, and more importantly, things are not automaticly patented per default the way that they are automaticly copyrighted.)

      Googling from there has gotten me nowhere. Sorry.


      Warning: Unless otherwise stated, code is untested. Do not use without understanding. Code is posted in the hopes it is useful, but without warranty. All copyrights are relinquished into the public domain unless otherwise stated. I am not an angel. I am capable of error, and err on a fairly regular basis. If I made a mistake, please let me know (such as by replying to this node).

        I think that's case law, not statute. It may be that you'll never find any documentation of that "law" aside from something that starts out "foo v. bar".

        print substr("Just another Perl hacker", 0, -2);
        - apotheon
        CopyWrite Chad Perrin

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