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SubjectRe: Linux GPL and binary module exception clause?
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On Wed, Dec 10, 2003 at 09:56:14AM -0800, Larry McVoy wrote:
> On Wed, Dec 10, 2003 at 09:10:18AM -0800, Linus Torvalds wrote:
> > In short, your honour, this extra chapter without any meaning on its own
> > is a derived work of the book.
>
> I see. And your argument, had it prevailed 5 years ago, would have
> invalidated the following, would it not? The following from one of the
> Microsoft lawsuits.
>
> >From http://ecfp.cadc.uscourts.gov/MS-Docs/1636/0.pdf
>
> Substituting an alternative module for one supplied by Microsoft
> may not violate copyright law, and certainly not because of any
> "integrity of the work" argument. The United States recognizes "moral
> rights" of attribution and integrity only for works of visual art
> in limited editions of 200 or fewer copies. (See 17 U.S.C. 106A
> and the definition of "work of visual art" in 17 U.S.C. 101.) A
> bookstore can replace the last chapter of a mystery novel without
> infringing its copyright, as long as they are not reprinting the
> other chapters but are simply removing the last chapter and replacing
> it with an alternative one, but must not pass the book off as the
> original. Having a copyright in a work does not give that copyright
> owner unlimited freedom in the terms he can impose.

You probably should have mentioned that this statement was made not
by a judge or a lawyer, but by a CS professor in an amicus curiae
brief. And the implication that this argument had much to do with
the outcome of the Microsoft case--which was about antitrust and
bundling, not copyrights--is disingenuous.

> Start to see why I think what you are doing is dangerous and will backfire?

You are extrapolating way too far. There are so many differences
between the Linux-module issue and the vague doomsday scenario you
are trying to conjure. Linus explained one (coherence and stability
of the API/ABI), and I think it could be easily be cast as a test
that a court could apply.

Maybe you can describe a specific case in which Linus's argument
backfires? I'm not saying you have no point at all, just that I
don't think this one thing is holding back the flood-waters.

Andrew
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