[License-discuss] relationship between opensource code and the copyrighted works it produces?

forget color forgetcolor at gmail.com
Sun Sep 2 20:51:08 UTC 2012

 I'm a visual artist and composer. Code is my medium. I'm interested in
releasing some of my code as open source, but don't quite understand the
licensing and copyright relationships between an open source codebase and
the artworks that the code may produce.

There are two types of situations common in my work, and they may require
different treatments. First are works where I don't really intend anyone
else to work on the project with me, but want to make the code available
for learning, understanding, and potential adaptation into a new (but
different) project. Second are works where I want collaboration on the
coding, but generally only to help improve the work I made with it.

Therefore, in both cases my intention is to maintain copyright on the
artworks I create using the code.

For example, if the code produces a browser addon called Widget99 then I
want Widget99 to be a distinct copyrighted work of mine that nobody else
reproduces and pitches as their own. If I make a code-drawing system and
called it CDS then I want CDS and the works I produce with it to be
copyrighted as well.

However, in each case the code I used to write it could be used in other's
projects, whether by concept or direct adaptation.  But only as long as
their new works don't infringe my copyrighted works.

Is what I want something that can be (or should be) supported by an open
source license, or is what I want inherently non open source? How is a
copyrighted work produced by code affected by that code's open source

Any suggestions for licenses to look at are appreciated. The only thing I
found that might be close for my Widget99 example is something like the
Open Art license (http://three.org/openart/license/), but it doesn't appear
to be supported by FSF or OSI.  I can imagine GPL or similar could be used
for my CDS example, but only if the copyrighted works are still protected
despite the open source nature of the code.

Thanks for any help.
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