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

Yes. What you say certainly makes sense with respect to the compiler,
that's how I understood it. That's the hammer analogy.    (01)

But how is that different from the bolt analogy, where I use a linked list
class in an application?    (02)

"Dennis E. Hamilton" wrote:    (03)

> I noticed a latent case in your example that is worth addressing.
> 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.
> That's nonsense.  Partly because of what copyright applies to.  (IMHO)
> 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.)
> 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).
> 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.)
> 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!
> -- Dennis
> -----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?
> -----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?
> [ ... ]
> 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?
> [ ... ]    (04)