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From: Ed Brey (brey_at_[hidden])
Date: 2003-06-30 09:35:50

Peter Dimov wrote:
> I'd like also to point out that it seems to me that the old "in all
> copies" form is better than the new one; the legal system is
> sufficiently flexible
> to reliably recognize a "copy" (i.e. a password protected RAR archive
> of an mp3 encoded song). The new wording seems to allow
> self-extracting archives of "the Software" to not carry the license.

To elaborate on this point, allow me to present two specific use cases to clarify the potential loopholes, both arising from the clause "unless such copies or derivative works are solely in the form of machine-executable object code generated by a source language processor."

* Suppose I create a product containing executables that make use of compiled boost libraries (only - no uncompiled boost source). I consider the CD and its content to be the "work" and I copyright it as such. It is a work derived from the Software (Boost license definition). Suppose the CD contains a plain text readme file. The derivative work is not /solely/ in the form of object code. Technically, I would have to include the boost copyright info, even though that is not the intent of the license.

* Although "language" by definition represents expression with constraining rules restricting valid combinations of input, it is well established that computer languages make provision for encapsulating of unconstrained binary data. Suppose I create a C++ program whose sole purpose is to create a file containing a significant portion of boost source code. My program contains a long C string which is the boost source code. Once I compile the C++ code into object code, I meet the exception, and don't need to include the copyright info, which is contrary to the intent of the license.

I think both problems (assuming they are real problems) can be solved by clarifying that exception clause to be something link this: "unless all portions (and only those portions) of the work strictly derived from the Software are translated from their source language into machine-executable object code." The lawyers can probably get the right wording to clarify the intent that you don't have to compile your own content, but you do need to compile the boost content.

One final point: I would argue that "unless such copies or derivative works" can become "unless such derivative works", since a direct copy will retain the existing copyright and not need the exception clause, and any change to the copyright will cause the work to be a derivative, not a copy. (I'm not well versed, however, on exactly where the dividing line between a "copy" and a derived work is drawn.)

(Insert "this is a layman talking" disclaimer here.)

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