GPL2 and IBM Public license

John Cowan cowan at
Sat Mar 22 19:58:44 UTC 2008

joe digital scripsit:

> If I understand correctly you cannot claim intellectual property
> over this software,

Of course not.  You are not the owner, nor did the owner give you
those rights.

> but lets say you have configured a combination of this software in a
> special way or even have added a patch to the software can you then
> claim intellectual property over the way its configured?

In principle, yes, though a court might decide that your efforts are
not creative enough.  In addition, if you did the work as part of your
regular job, it may belong to your employer, not you.  I am not a lawyer;
this is not legal advice.

> I would guess the answer is NO since it is publicly available
> softwareand unless you patent the patches or configuration it is
> public domain?

"Public domain" means that there is no copyright owner.  None of the works
you originally mentioned are in the public domain: their owners share
them with you under generous licenses, asking for no money in return,
but imposing certain restrictions on how you distribute them and what
kinds of derivative works you make.

Patents are another ball of wax.  They don't transfer from one country
to another, they require a much higher standard of originality than
copyrights, and they cost a mint to obtain (US$50,000 minimum).

Yes, chili in the eye is bad, but so is your    John Cowan
ear.  However, I would suggest you wash your    cowan at
hands thoroughly before going to the toilet.

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