[License-discuss] Open Source and the extension of copyright

VanL van.lindberg at gmail.com
Thu Jan 31 20:51:18 UTC 2019

FYI, I am on record as agreeing with you on this point - I wrote about it
in my book in the context of feeling that some GPL advocates and the GPL
FAQ stretched the bounds of copyright too far - thus creating a negative
policy outcome even while trying to do something good for the GPL.

However, in the context of where we are with regard to Oracle v. Google, I
may at some point need to eat crow on that whole discussion and say that
the GPL FAQ was mostly correct. Mostly.



On Thu, Jan 31, 2019 at 12:11 PM Bruce Perens <bruce at perens.com> wrote:

> I think it's important to make a point about the extension of copyright.
> In the case of Open Hardware, licenses are crafted which intend to
> copyright not only schematics (which are functional things and thus not
> copyrightable) but the *implementations of hardware from those
> schematics.*
> This is an obvious extension of copyright law beyond where it has been
> applied so far. The risk in such a thing is that courts could consider it
> valid, going along with the innovation of industry as they often do, and
> then suddenly copyright would be applied to every schematic in a book, and
> electronic designs which we today copy with impunity, and we'd have to
> license all of our schematics everywhere.
> This would have a tremendous stifling effect on the practice of
> electronics, especially by individuals and non-profit groups such as the
> Open Hardware projects themselves.
> This is why I abandoned work on Open Hardware licensing.
> In addition, I think there's a principle here. Extension of copyright is
> bad for Open Source, even if it helps us enforce our licenses more
> effectively. It will always work against us to a greater extent that it can
> be put to work for us.
>     Thanks
>     Bruce
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