On Sun, Aug 26, 2012 at 2:21 PM, Theodore Ts'o <tytso(a)mit.edu> wrote:
Nope. You can't copyright ideas, only the expression of an idea.
can patent ideas and designs (ignoring issues of whether you should be
able to patent software algorithms or rounded corners) but that's a
different kettle of fish.
That is, if you have a computer in one cubicle, and read
the source code there, internalize the idea and concepts, and then
wander over to the next cubicle, and code up the same algorithm,
you're probably safe from a copyright claim.
Sure, but that's not what's happening here. It's not like
copyleft-next sprung from Richard reading GPLv3 and deciding to write
a new license from a blank page. In this case, there's a clear
progression from GPLv3 to copyleft-next, commit-by-commit. Like I
said, I don't think that copyleft-next is in violation of any laws,
morals, or ethics in the way it has developed (if I did, I would be
wrong), I'm simply arguing that it is still a derivative work. It's an
entirely semantic argument, and I'm not sure it has much bearing on
One of the things which is really scary to me is how few developers
don't seem to understand basic copyright principles.
I wholly agree that there's a broad ignorance of copyright and
licensing issues among people who should really know better (I count
myself in that category, though I hope I'm slightly less ignorant than
the mean). That's part of what makes this project particularly
attractive to me: reading the commit messages, especially in the early
stages, has been a terrific education in the history and intricacies
of copyleft. The question is "how do we educate the community?"