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Re: copyright issues and derivative work (the case of matlab-mode)

From: Uwe Brauer
Subject: Re: copyright issues and derivative work (the case of matlab-mode)
Date: Wed, 24 Nov 2021 08:40:00 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/29.0.50 (gnu/linux)

>>> "RS" == Richard Stallman <rms@gnu.org> writes:

> [[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider    ]]]
> [[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,     ]]]
> [[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example. ]]]

>> >     3. Patches, that contain more than 15 lines, which according to
>> >        https://www.gnu.org/prep/maintain/html_node/Legally-Significant.html
>> >        is legally relevant. However the current HEAD (tip) state of the
>> >        repository contains less than 15 lines or even no line at all.
>> >        Now there are two possibilities.
>> > 
>> >        a. The orginal patch is no longer relevant, and therefore no action 
>> > is needed.
>> >           That is what common sense would tell me.
>> > 
>> >        b. Although the code is not present now, it was present in some
>> >           commit in the past, therefore the rest of the commits is
>> >           derivative work.

> It isn't quite that simple and rigid.  The question that needs to be
> answered is: is a substantial part of the current code more or less a
> rewriting of the original patch?  If so, then that part is a
> derivative of the original patch.

> The FSF can can ask a lawyer about the specific case, if that's
> necessary.

Ok, I see. I am planning to do the following:
I will extract all patches sent to us in the last two decades and
compare it with the actual version and put in a directory for someone to
inspect. (I have to think about the details)

The case I had in mind was (that is anyhow very short but just to
emphasize my point)

| diff --git a/elisp/matlab-emacs/matlab.el b/elisp/matlab-emacs/matlab.el
| index 63ce838..71b6ff0 100755
| --- a/elisp/matlab-emacs/matlab.el
| +++ b/elisp/matlab-emacs/matlab.el
| @@ -3731,6 +3731,6 @@ If ARG is nil, then highlighting is toggled."
|                         post-command-hook)
|                 -1 1)))
|      (if (> arg 0)
| -     (add-hook 'post-command-hook 'matlab-start-block-highlight-timer)
| -      (remove-hook 'post-command-hook 'matlab-start-block-highlight-timer))))
| +     (add-hook 'post-command-hook 'matlab-start-block-highlight-timer nil 
| +      (remove-hook 'post-command-hook 'matlab-start-block-highlight-timer 

But we removed *all* calls to the post-command-hook in the current
matlab.el version and that is why I think, the current version is *not*
derivative work of this particular patch.

But as I said, there will be more complicated cases

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