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Re: AW: Re: Copyright notices - update everything to 2006?

From: Daniel Berlin <dberlin_at_dberlin.org>
Date: 2006-01-22 16:18:02 CET

I hate to contribute actual answers to this thread, but I guess that's
why i got a law degree:

1. In general, functions are not copyrightable on their own, unless they
are very long functions *and* are not mechanical implementations of
algorithms (IE they have some real creativity).

2. What is copyrighted in a file is the file as a whole, as a work,
including arrangement and grouping of functions. The copyright on the
individual functions itself is generally very weak, though it still
exists.

This copyright is a valuable one compared to a copyright on the program
source as a combined whole (which also exists).

Thus, it's generally not worth copyright noticing individual functions
because

1. Most programmers are not proficient enough at law to even begin to
make the judgments as to whether something is copyrightable or not.
(Although most programmers will argue with that statement because they
think law is easy and simple, which sadly, it is not. Don't blame me,
i'm just the messenger)

2. Even if they could, it's annoying and gets in the way for little to
no value.

Remember that you can slap a copyright notice on anything you like, and
it has absolutely no effect on whether it is copyrighted or not. It is
only there (at least in the US) to prevent use of the "innocent
infringement" defense, where they claim they had no idea it was
copyrighted. It still may turn out, even with a notice, that what was
there was not copyrightable, because it did not meet the minimum
requirements of the various statutes.

On Sat, 2006-01-21 at 00:07 -0800, Michael Brouwer wrote:
> Why not just put a copyright notice on the tarfile and be done with it...
>
> Michael
>
>
> On 1/20/06, Vincent Lefevre <vincent+svn@vinc17.org> wrote:
> > On 2006-01-19 12:36:28 +0100, Folker Schamel wrote:
> > > Just for interest:
> > > Is there a reason that the copyright and the copyright notice
> > > is on per-file basis, and not for example on function basis,
> > > contribution basis or module basis?
> >
> > Or any part of the code? Thanks to Subversion, it is possible to see
> > where some code has appeared for the first time.
> >
> > Otherwise, what happens when a file with a copyright notice of 2006 is
> > split into two parts, one of them having been last modified in 2005 and
> > the other one in 2006?
> >
> > I'd personally see files just as a technical mean of organizing the
> > source (the copyright notice just being a reminder concerning the
> > whole work), in case some file would be separated from the whole work
> > by accident. The copyright rules should be the same, whether all the
> > functions (or parts of the code) are grouped into one file or in
> > separate files.
> >
> > --
> > Vincent Lefèvre <vincent_at_vinc17.org> - Web: <http://www.vinc17.org/>
> > 100% accessible validated (X)HTML - Blog: <http://www.vinc17.org/blog/>
> > Work: CR INRIA - computer arithmetic / SPACES project at LORIA
> >
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> >
> >

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Received on Sun Jan 22 16:18:22 2006

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