"Derivative Work" for Software Defined

Bjorn Reese breese at mail1.stofanet.dk
Sat Jan 18 12:34:25 UTC 2003

"PETERSON,SCOTT K (HP-USA,ex1)" wrote:

> I agree with Larry that "mere aggregations" are "collective works" (at least
> in general; I would not discount the possibility that one might find some
> nuance of "collective work" that is not present in some "mere aggregation").
> Also, I'd note that not all collective works are mere aggregations.

Part of the problem is that the term "mere aggregation" itself is
ill-defined. An aggregation is a part-whole relationship. Winston
et al [1] differentiates between three different types of parts:

   Functional parts are restricted, by their function, in their spatial
   or temporal location. For example, the handle of a cup can only be
   placed in a limited number of positions if it is to function as a

   Homeomerous parts are of the same kind of thing as their wholes, for
   example `slice-pie', while non-homeomerous parts are different from
   their wholes, for example, `tree-forest'.

   Separable parts can, in principle, be separated from the whole, for
   example, `handle-cup', while inseparable parts cannot, for example

Aggregation of different parts results in different characteristics of
the whole ([1] defines a taxonomy of six part-whole relationships.)

An example that illustrates that not all aggregations are transitive is
that an arm is part of a musician, the musician is part of an orchestra,
but the arm is not part of the orchestra (except, perhaps, in the minds
of determined software developers creating an object-oriented model of
an orchestra.)

Getting back on topic, I believe that the interrelationship between
mereology (the study of part-whole relationships), software, and law is
important to bring clarity to this topic. Unfortunately, I am not
familiar with such work.

[1] Morton Winston, Roger Chaffin, Douglas Herrmann
    "A Taxonomy of Part-Whole Relations"
    Cognitive Science, vol. 11, pp. 417-444, 1987
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