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RMS On Header Files and Derivative Works 247

tomhudson writes "In this email from 2003, Richard Stallman says 'I've talked with our lawyer about one specific issue that you raised: that of using simple material from header files. Someone recently made the claim that including a header file always makes a derivative work. That's not the FSF's view. Our view is that just using structure definitions, typedefs, enumeration constants, macros with simple bodies, etc., is NOT enough to make a derivative work. It would take a substantial amount of code (coming from inline functions or macros with substantial bodies) to do that.' This should help end the recent FUD about the Android 'clean headers.'"
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RMS On Header Files and Derivative Works

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  • Re:end FUD ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <barbara.hudson@b ... u d s o n . c om> on Sunday March 20, 2011 @11:54AM (#35550850) Journal

    This should help end the recent FUD about the Android 'clean headers.

    you must be new here..

    No, I just believe that the FUD-packers will now try something else.

    They don't seem to get it - that there are now a critical mass of people who not only don't buy into the FUD, but have an ideological interest in exposing the FUD for what it is.

    Now that we've got the numbers, FUD not only becomes less effective for the other side, but draws attention to just how much of a threat open source is to them, and how hollow their arguments really are.

    Think of it. This was an attack on Android specifically designed to get hand-set vendors worried that they would have to share their source, not just the usual "linux may have copyright problems blah blah blah". It failed, and in doing so discredits all the other similar FUD. People like Florian Mueller are the internet version of the boy who cried wolf - at this point, even if he did find something, who'd believe him?

  • Re:not so fast (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 20, 2011 @11:56AM (#35550880)

    Uh, what relevance does the original copyright license hold if the modified headers are no longer considered to be under copyright?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 20, 2011 @12:13PM (#35551036)

    Fuck Stallman. In 1990 I was using Bison and Stallman told me that the include files meant that what I was doing was covered by the totally non open GNU license. So I switched back to Berkeley yacc which has a much more open license.

    And screw all of you who don't get that Berkeley/MIT licenses are much more open than the GNU control freak shit.

  • No, that is NOT the version of the GPL that linux uses. Linux uses a non-standard version of the GPL, that begins with this exemption (taken from the latest COPYING file in the kernel sources off my hard drive):

    NOTE! This copyright does *not* cover user programs that use kernel
    services by normal system calls - this is merely considered normal use
    of the kernel, and does *not* fall under the heading of "derived work".
    Also note that the GPL below is copyrighted by the Free Software
    Foundation, but the instance of code that it refers to (the Linux
    kernel) is copyrighted by me and others who actually wrote it.

    Also note that the only valid version of the GPL as far as the kernel
    is concerned is _this_ particular version of the license (ie v2, not
    v2.2 or v3.x or whatever), unless explicitly otherwise stated.

    Linus Torvalds

    Version 2, June 1991

    So, using the headers to access kernel services does not create a derivative work.

    This is over and above that the files in question have been stripped of copyrightable content.

  • by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <barbara.hudson@b ... u d s o n . c om> on Sunday March 20, 2011 @03:19PM (#35552362) Journal

    no. youre just ... wrong. the presentation of the facts DOES NOT EXIST WITHOUT THE FACTS. im not trying to spin anything. go read : Feist Publications, Inc., v. Rural Telephone Service Co., 499 U.S. 340 (1991) and educate yourself. besides, i'll probably send a copy of this thread around to my colleagues anyway. they should have a good laugh at your expense. i work for jones day but you may not have heard of us.

    Re Feist []

    111 S. Ct. at 1288 (internal quotations and citations omitted). Like ideas and processes, facts themselves are not protectable;however, an author’s original compilation, arrangement or selection of facts can be protected by copyright. Feist, 111 S. Ct. at 1289 ; Applied Innovations, 876 F.2d at 636 . However, “the copyright is limited to the particular selection or arrangement. In no event may copyright extend to the facts themselves.” Feist, 111 S. Ct. at 1290

    The Supremes say you are full of it.

    The Feist decision only extended copyright to the layout, not the underlying facts.

    I've heard of Jones, Day - if you work for them, maybe in the mail room, but certainly not as a lawyer. Or are you now going to say that the Supremes got it wrong?

    You're wrong, and you just keep giving me more ammunition to shoot you down with every time. You're as bad as Florian Mueller.

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire