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|Linus Digs Into Copyright Law and Notices Something Useful
Friday, December 05 2003 @ 01:52 PM EST
Linus must be getting over his revulsion at all things legal. He has put his brain to work on the law, and now that he's in Groklaw mode, he has found something beautifully useful and ironic at the same time. Look what he found, and yes, I am impressed:
up looking up the exact wording of the US copyright law for the definition
of 'derivative', and guess what I find a few lines below it:
'The term "financial gain" includes receipt, or expectation of
receipt, of anything of value, including the receipt of other
"This is from US Code Collection, Title 17 (copyrights), Chapter 1, Section
101: 'Definitions'. In short, this is from the very first section in
copyright law - the thing that defines terms even before those terms are
used. What I'm trying to say - this is some pretty fundamental stuff when
it comes to copyrights in the US. Pertinent, if you will.
"And note how copyright law expressly includes 'the expectation of receipt'
of anything of value, and expressly mentions 'receipt of other copyrighted
works' as such a thing of value. And that's the _definition_ of 'financial
gain' as far as copyright law is concerned.
"And guess what the GPL is all about? Maybe you can explain to Darl how the
GPL is _designed_ so that people receive the value of other peoples
copyrighted works in return for having made their own contributions. That
is the fundamental idea of the whole license - everything else is just
"So . . . when he attacks the GPL as being somehow against 'financial gain', that notion that the
GPL has of 'exchange of receipt of copyrighted works' is actually
EXPLICITLY ENCODED in the US copyright law. It's not just a crazy idea
that some lefty commie hippie dreamed up in a drug-induced stupor.
So if Darl calls that notion unconstitutional, he is actually attacking
the US code as it stands today.
"If you want to check that legal quote yourself, the place to go is
Linus is way cool.