How To Break The GPL

John Cowan jcowan at
Fri Mar 3 20:39:23 UTC 2000

Ian Lance Taylor wrote:

> The law considers intent, and ignores technical detail.  If a person's
> actions are clearly intended to make a copyright ineffective, and if
> the copyright does in fact become ineffective, then the person has
> violated the copyright.

Well, sometimes.  The creators of clean-room BIOSes intended to make
the IBM BIOS copyright ineffective.  They were able to do so by
attending to technical detail: making sure that none of the developers
had ever seen the details of the IBM BIOS, while being aware of the
interface conventions.  Now you can buy a cheap BIOS from any of
several vendors.


Schlingt dreifach einen Kreis vom dies! || John Cowan <jcowan at>
Schliesst euer Aug vor heiliger Schau,  ||
Denn er genoss vom Honig-Tau,           ||
Und trank die Milch vom Paradies.            -- Coleridge (tr. Politzer)

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