[License-discuss] License incompatibility (was Re: Open source license chooser choosealicense.com

John Cowan cowan at mercury.ccil.org
Thu Sep 12 19:27:28 UTC 2013

Lawrence Rosen scripsit:

> They will refer you to the confusing
> "abstraction-filtration-comparison" tests that are used in the U.S.
> courts to distinguish functional from expressive content.

Some U.S. courts.  What is more, the AFC test sounds good in theory, but
is decidedly hard to apply in practice.  In any case, I am speaking here
of literal copying only.

> when talking about the principles of copyright law, your hypothesized
> examples ought to focus on the things that Bob and Alice do for
> *expressive* purposes

What on earth do _purposes_ have to do with anything?  If I write a
cookbook, I don't do it to express myself, but to explain how to cook
various dishes (and perhaps to make money).  Nonetheless, my cookbook
is copyrightable because there is more than one possible form for the
content.  Likewise, both Alice's code and Bob's code are expressive, for
there is more than one way to write each of them.

> rather than the things they do merely to allow their software to
> function together through some technical (or bizarre) form of linking.

Why bring up linking?  My hypos have to do with source-code
modification, not with linking.

> I'll apply copyright law only when Bob or Alice make their software
> prettier.


Don't be so humble.  You're not that great.             John Cowan
        --Golda Meir                                    cowan at ccil.org

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