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RE: [ba-unrev-talk] GPL? - GCC phobia

I noticed a latent case in your example that is worth addressing.    (01)

There are those who are afraid that if they use GCC, the Gnu C Compiler,
then the programs they build with it must be GPL'd.    (02)

That's nonsense.  Partly because of what copyright applies to.  (IMHO)    (03)

The copyright of software is treated as the copyright of a literary work.
(You used to use the very same form on the registration. I don't know if
that is still true.)    (04)

Copyright applies to the expression of something, and not to the idea
expressed (very important -- patents can apply to the realization of ideas,
copyright cannot).    (05)

Now, it is the particular expression of GCC (the source code and the related
binary) that is the subject of copyright, and that the copyright notion of
derivative work applies to.  The *operation* of a GCC carried out by
compiling and executing it might be considered the performance of a work in
the performing arts (why not?) but I haven't found any copyright wonk
willing to go down that particular rats nest.  But to extend the copyright
license to the product of a performance is too great a reach.  For one
thing, copyright applies to the original expression of an author.  The GCC
compiler has no standing as an author.  The only original expression
involved is *your* original expression embodied in the source code fed into
GCC.  GCC has nothing to do with the copyrightable subject matter in your
input to it.  (And remember that languages are not considered to be
copyrightable subject matter.)    (06)

It is also important to realize that there are non-copyrightable literary
expressions, no matter how original when uttered by each of us.  We don't
need to get into the details of it, but the output of a compiler is of
itself mostly utilitarian and neither literary or original.  I don't know
that it has been tested, but being the result of an algorithm is probably
enough to impeach any claim to (automatic) copyright for the "utterance."
Whatever there is of original expression will be what was provided in the
input that is copyrightable subject matter.  Any protection of the object
code is in the sense that it is a derivative fixation of the source code.
(I think that when a program copyright is registered it is the source code
that is submitted, not a binary.  Again, that might be old practice.)
That's what I say, as a charter member of the prolific IANAL club!    (07)

-- Dennis    (08)

-----Original Message-----
From: Dennis E. Hamilton [mailto:dennis.hamilton@acm.org]
Sent: Monday, September 30, 2002 16:30
To: ba-unrev-talk@bootstrap.org
Subject: RE: [ba-unrev-talk] GPL?    (09)

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-ba-unrev-talk@bootstrap.org
[mailto:owner-ba-unrev-talk@bootstrap.org]On Behalf Of Eric Armstrong
Sent: Monday, September 30, 2002 13:27
To: ba-unrev-talk@bootstrap.org
Subject: Re: [ba-unrev-talk] GPL?    (010)

[ ... ]    (011)

On the other hand, if bolts were free, what would be wrong with
charging for something that was constructed using bolts? Or if it
were hammers that were free, with charging for a house that was
constructed using the hammer? Or, if I toss aside an umbrella, what's
wrong with GoodWill fixing it up and selling it?    (012)

[ ... ]    (013)