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Re: Microsoft needs a help strategy

From: amicus_curious
Subject: Re: Microsoft needs a help strategy
Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2009 19:24:41 -0500

"David Kastrup" <> wrote in message 85k58d226h.fsf@lola.goethe.zz">news:85k58d226h.fsf@lola.goethe.zz...
"amicus_curious" <> writes:

"David Kastrup" <> wrote in message

Try reading the GPL sometime.

Well, is it valid?

That's entirely the choice of the recipient.  If he considers it
invalid, he does not have a license, and has to behave accordingly.  If
he considers it valid, he has a license granted under terms.  As long as
he heeds the terms, there is nothing to fear for him.

Well, that is your opinion certainly, but it begs the question. Is there any requirment to honor a copyright asserted for something that has no commercial value? Is such a copyright valid at all?

It is much easier to see that source for something that has commercial value, say Windows itself, is a protected work since the value is not disputed. But if it, like Linux, is not sold for a profit and, worse, the only people making money from it are those who are being paid to make it work for some client, it is not so clear. There is a need for it to be some form of unique expression and, without any evidence that it is unique and desired by someone, that could make the copyright void. The idea behind the work is not protected either, and no one has really tested the water on uniqueness in the case of software source.

'There are limited ways to express anything using a computer language. Oceans of proprietary code are simply aggregations of things that Microsoft or some other kind supplier has put forth in the public realm as sample code showing how some Windows function might be called or otherwise used for its stated purpose. With such a limited repetoir, the value of the source lies mostly in its existence as a complete item and not as a unique expression. Anyone with the need would implement similarly, it could be argued, and so copyright does not apply.

If it is a binary, which is where the commercial values lie, then it is more akin to a record or tape that can be used directly. As source, it is just a recitation of the idea behind the construction. Or so it could be argued.

In any case, if the author chooses to give it away gratis, then the
option of charging for it is no longer applicable.

Huh?  If I compose and sing a lullaby to a child of mine, I no longer
have the option for charging someone else if he desires a performance or
a copy of the composition?

How confused are you?

Not as confused as yourself, certainly. Your singing a lullaby is almost certainly without value and would not be much of an artistic "work" and might not qualify as subject to copyright. But regardless, your singing it doesn't "fix it in a medium" and so if you want to make a recording and sell it, you can still charge, although, as I believe, no one will be found willing to pay for a copy. If all you do is sing again, that is up to the person hiring you. You would be well advised to get your payment in advance, I would think.

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