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From: David Abrahams (dave_at_[hidden])
Date: 2004-02-16 15:53:29

Thanks for replying, Diane.

Diane Cabell <dcabell_at_[hidden]> writes:

> David Abrahams wrote:
>>>>Do you consider documentation to be software? I don't.
>>>No, I don't consider it software either :) I was asking if *in the
>>>text of the license* they used the word "Software", with an uppercase
>>>'s', as a shortcut for software + docs. That's because it says:
>>> Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person or
>>> organization obtaining a copy of **the software and accompanying
>>> documentation** covered by this license (**the "Software"**)
>> Now that you remind me, yes, "Software" clearly includes the
>> documentation.
> Not always. Often they are treated separately. However, the clause
> above ensures that they are both covered.

Right. I meant that it clearly includes the documentation **in this

>>>>>b) IIUC again, the comments we are inserting into source files
>>>>> // Use, modification and distribution are subject to the //
>>>>> Boost Software License, Version 1.0. (See accompanying file //
>>>>> LICENSE_1_0.txt or copy at
>>>>> are unnecessarily verbose (and potentially dangerous).
>>>>Care to elaborate on why you think it's dangerous?
>>>Potentially. I was just asking. My question was: the file says use,
>>>modification and distribution are subject to the license. Taken
>>>strictly I may interpret that only this three things are subject to
>>>the license (not display, for instance). If, from a legal point of
>>>view, "display" isn't one of these three things then I can display the
>>>software without even reading the license.

OK, I think I understand you below, but your wording is a bit
confusing, so I'll ask for clarification:

> US copyright law only grants the author the right to control public
> display of the work.

Meaning "the right to control public display of the work is granted
solely to the author?"

> See See 17 USC 106 at
> <>. Yes, if the right
> isn't specifically granted, it is not included.

Therefore, the fact that a source file doesn't specifically say that
"display is subject to the Boost Software License" means that it isn't
granted at all? The OP was actually concerned that leaving out
"display" implicitly granted a right to do so. My understanding is
that it does not. Please confirm/deny.

This brings up another possible problem, though: if the license grants
certain rights to display, but the source file comment only says that
"Use, modification, and distribution" are subject to the license,
perhaps we're failing to grant any display rights. Probably the OP
was right to suggest that we drop the specific mention of "use,
modification, and distribution" from source file comments. Even if we
*are* granting display rights as intended, why risk ambiguity on this

> >>>>One could simply say
>>>>>// Subject to the Boost Software License, Version 1.0. (See etc. etc.)
>>>>I don't think a _file_ can be subject to a license, can it? The file
>>>>just exists.
>>>Hmm... I don't know. It seems to me that the file is the *medium*
>>>through which a piece of software is distributed.
>> If we were to make a change like that one, I'd say "Licensed under
>> the
>> Boost...", just to avoid any ambiguity.
> Whether or not any particular file is capable of copyright protection
> would depend on what is contained in the file. US law distinguishes
> between facts/data (not protected by copyright) and creative
> expression (protectable to the extent that it is severable from the
> underlying idea). If a file were just an alphabetical list of names
> and addresses, it would not be considered copyrightable in the US
> because that's just a bare and unoriginal set of statements of fact.
> I'm not sure how you're using the term "file", but you can erase doubt
> by including it specifically as suggested above.

Sorry, I think I was just bringing up a linguistic technicality.
These are all copyrightable files. The question is whether a *thing*
can be subject to a license, or only actions that might be performed
on that thing. That's why I suggested "licensed under ... " instead
of "subject to ... ".

Dave Abrahams
Boost Consulting

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