The Copyright Act preempts the GPL

Rod Dixon rodd at
Mon Feb 9 20:02:41 UTC 2004

Hmm...there is a part of your argument that is appealing in a conceptual
sense, and I think it would be correct to say that Copyright law has
allowed for distinctions between the compiled program and source code. For
example, one could refer to source code as a literal aspect of software
and at least parts of the compiled program's non-literal aspects (e.g.,
user interface). With the use of IDE's to compile (especially for
graphical user interfaces) programs, one could argue that the non-literal
aspect (certainly some of it) of a program is machine generated. Even so,
this may just be a modern path to the same point Copyright law already has
arrived at from litigation and allegations in the 1990's involving
Microsoft, Apple, Lotus, and a couple of others.

rod at

On Mon, 9 Feb 2004, Ruth A. Kramer wrote:

> > Alexander Terekhov scripsit:
> >
> > > To me, compilers (and tools like
> > > do nothing but "transliteration", not "translation" in the
> > > legal sense. I may be wrong, of course.
> I may be off the mark, but to me, part of the implied "question"
> (perhaps in an earlier post?) is whether a compiled program is a
> derivative work of the compiler?
> IANAL, but in my understanding it is not.  It is, however, a derived
> work of the source code, IIUC.
> Randy Kramer
> --
> license-discuss archive is at
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