Question Regarding GPL

John Cowan cowan at
Fri Jan 20 22:52:35 UTC 2006

Rick Moen scripsit:

> Whether one work is a "derivative" of another within the meaning of
> copyright law is a factual question that -- in USA legal jurisdictions --
> would be decided by reference to the "abstraction, filtration, comparison"
> test detailed in the ruling precedent, CAI v. Altai, Inc., FN53:
> 982 F.2d 693, 23 USPQ2d 1241 2d Cir. 1992), which was further detailed
> in Gates Rubber v. Bando Chemical, FN57: 9 F.3d 823, 28 USPQ2d 1503 10th
> Cir. 1993.
> Oops, I forgot to also mention Micro Star v. FormGen, Inc., 154 F.3d
> 1107 9th Cir. 1998, and had better do so before John Cowan cluebats me
> about it.  

What, me cluebat a made man?  Heaven, as they say, forfend.

I will note, though, that both CAI and Micro Star are Court of Appeals
circuit-court decisions, and as such aren't settled law in all fifty
states, though the Tenth Circuit has followed the Second in CAI.
(In Canada the test is abstraction-comparison-filtration, FWIW.)

Also FWIW, I think Micro Star is obviously wrongly decided, and if followed
scrupulously would make it impossible to sell libre programs meant to
run on a non-libre interpreter.

Business before pleasure, if not too bloomering long before.
        --Nicholas van Rijn
                John Cowan <cowan at>

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