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From: Alexander Terekhov (terekhov_at_[hidden])
Date: 2004-02-09 11:34:25

Alexander Terekhov wrote:
> David Abrahams wrote:
> [...]
> > I fear that's right. Maybe I should just rewrite that stuff using
> > Boost.Build. Heh, easy, right?
> Fix the Boost Software License first, please. BSL does impose
> the reciprocation provision with respect to derivative works
> (not imposing an obligation to make the source code available),
> but it doesn't really authorize the distribution of derivatives.
> ---
> if there are different authors, then the copyright owner in any
> work has to authorize the MAKING of any further derivative works
> AND must approve of any DISTRIBUTION of the work that contains
> his material. Unless ownership and distribution rules are
> resolved at the time the work is being developed, there could be
> problems at a later time.
> ---
> ---
> a) Subject to the terms of this Agreement, each Contributor
> hereby grants Recipient a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-
> free copyright license to reproduce, PREPARE DERIVATIVE WORKS
> of, publicly display, publicly perform, DISTRIBUTE AND
> SUBLICENSE the Contribution of such Contributor, if any, AND
> SUCH DERIVATIVE WORKS, in source code and object code form.
> ---

David Abrahams wrote:
> > Clearly, I may distribute "the Software", but may I distribute
> > the derivative work?
> This is the answer from our lawyer, Devin Smith. Sorry it took so
> long:
> A programmer who -- with the permission of the copyright holder --
> creates a derivative work based on another work actually owns the
> derivative work. So, since the programmer of the derivative work owns
> it, there's no need for the owner of the original work to grant that
> programmer a license to distribute the derivative work.
> Now, that doesn't mean that the owner of the original work can't put
> contractual restrictions on what the programmer of the derivative work
> can do with the derivative work. The Boost license, for instance,
> requires programmers who develop derivative works to include the Boost
> license with non-object code distributions of the derivative work.

>> He also has no rights in the derivative work as a whole - such rights don't
>> exist. There is no copyright in the work as a whole, only seperate
>> copyrights in the pre-existing work, and in the added work.
> This directly contravenes the text of the statute.
No. You have to read §103 carefully. I explain below.
> The copyright owner
say author here instead of copyright owner, it makes things simpler
> of a derivative work is a copyright owner with all the rights of a
> copyright owner, 
Yes. He has copyright in his contribution to the whole work. But he does not
have the right to make copies of the whole derivative work that include
(parts of) another's original work.
> except that he cannot prevent the creation of other
> works derivative of the original work but not based on his contribution.
§103 in full:
"Subject matter of copyright: Compilations and derivative works
(a) The subject matter of copyright as specified by section 102 includes
compilations and derivative works, but protection for a work employing
preexisting material in which copyright subsists does not extend to any part
of the work in which such material has been used unlawfully.
(b) The copyright in a compilation or derivative work extends only to the
material contributed by the author of such work, as distinguished from the
preexisting material employed in the work, and does not imply any exclusive
right in the preexisting material. The copyright in such work is independent
of, and does not affect or enlarge the scope, duration, ownership, or
subsistence of, any copyright protection in the preexisting material."
You might think that (a) means there is copyright in a compiled or derived
work, but it is not necessarily so. If eg a compilation (not the compiled
work, but the work of compilation) is not itself an original work os
authorship then there is no copyright. The same law applies to derivative
works. I agree that that is confusing.
What (a) really says is that if you make a derivative work without
permission from the copyright holder of the original work then you don't
even have copyright in your own work.
You might think that (a) says there can be copyright in a compiled or
derived work as a whole, but it doesn't.
(b) make the overall situation perfectly clear - any copyright in the
derived work does not extend beyond the contribution of the author of the
derived work. Any preexisting material is unaffected by the new copyright.
The only thing the second author has copyright in is his own work.
If the second author has to make copies of the original work in order to
make copies of the whole derived work (which would usually be the case), he
has to have the separate permission of the first author to do so. Only the
original author has the right to do that.
Permission to make a derivative work does not automatically (or even
usually) include permission to make copies of/distribute the original work
as part of a whole.
And, finally, this is fun:
Alan writes an original computer program. It is 3 lines long. It is called
"Hello world".
Bob takes Alan's program and replaces line 2. The new program is called
"Goodbye asshole".
"Goodbye asshole" is a derivative work.
If Bob did not have Alan's permission to create a derivative work then he
gets no rights at all.
If Bob had Alan's permission to create a derivative work then he gets the
sole right to distribute line 2.
He does not get any right to distribute lines 1 and 3. He cannot distribute
"Goodbye asshole" including lines 1 and 3 without separate permission from
P.S. I just love the unified Boost Software License Version 1.0. ;-)

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