What is Copyleft?

David Johnson david at usermode.org
Sat Feb 24 19:44:57 UTC 2001

On Saturday 24 February 2001 06:28 am, Fred Patrick wrote:

> Are there more details about not being able to copyright an API?
> Does API in this usage apply to CORBA interfaces as well?
> If so it doesn't make much sense to me.

I wish I had more details. I am only going by my recollection. I probably 
mispoke when I said you couldn't copyright an API. I'm fairly certain you 
can. But I don't think you can prevent anyone from either using it or writing 
a different implementation of it.

A license might be able to prevent someone from using the actual header file 
representation of an interface, but they can't stop the use of the interface 
itself. If you are able to use the header file, as the GPL fully allows, and 
the header file contains only an interface representation, then only the 
interface (function names) will be integrated into the calling code.

Doing a search on the web, I quickly found out that searching on legal topics 
is hard to do, or maybe I just don't know how. In any case, I found
which is full a great info. It discusses *unpublished* APIs. I was unable to 
find a reference to the case I was thinking of.

Absent that though, here is a hypothetical... Can you copyright your personal 
name in such a way that people could not legally address mail to you?

David Johnson

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