OSD Model Code -- Article 1 (Free Distribution)

John Cowan jcowan at reutershealth.com
Tue Jan 21 16:55:27 UTC 2003

Mark Shewmaker scripsit:

> (That is, I've always assumed that you can't claim that you've put
> together a "mere aggregation" of programs while at the same time
> claiming that you've been creative enough in your selection to warrant a
> compilation copyright on the whole thing.)

As far as I can see, the term "mere aggregation" in the GPL is equivalent
to "compilation" in the Copyright Act.  (IANAL, TINLA).  Which leads to
a subsidiary question:

Is there a distinct right in the copyright-bundle to control the use of
works in collective works (a species of compilations)?  If there is no such
distinct right, is it subsidiary to the right to copy the work, or perhaps
the right to make derivative works?  Collective works typically contain
only verbatim copies, suggesting that it is the right to copy that is
relevant; however, the statute everywhere treats compilations and derivative
works in the same way (with the exceptions of compilations of phonorecords
and compilations made by archivists for preservation, which are treated

> I'm worried that your new Article 1 might restrict licenses from making
> claims on collections that are more than mere aggregations, because even
> though those collections for which a compilation copyright is claimed
> are necessarily a derivative work (IMHO), 

That doesn't seem to be the case.  Compilations and derivative works are
distinct according to both the explicit definitions and the implicit usage
in the Act.


Said Agatha Christie / To E. Philips Oppenheim  John Cowan
"Who is this Hemingway? / Who is this Proust?   jcowan at reutershealth.com
Who is this Vladimir / Whatchamacallum,         http://www.reutershealth.com
This neopostrealist / Rabble?" she groused.     http://www.ccil.org/cowan
        --author unknown to me; any suggestions?
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