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From Ichiro Furusato <>
Subject Re: target for 2.9.1 release?
Date Fri, 01 Feb 2013 03:37:30 GMT
On Fri, Feb 1, 2013 at 2:01 PM, Glen Mazza <> wrote:
> On 01/31/2013 07:25 PM, Ichiro Furusato wrote:
>> Hi Glen,
>> Unfortunately, from a legal perspective there is no ability to
>> differentiate what might be called "pure facts" from their expression,
>> and expressions are copyrighted.
> I can't see how that would be the case, for then there would be no benefit
> to making facts uncopyrightable
> (  What you're saying
> is that if one newspaper writes "Bob Smith is the new Mayor", no other
> newspaper may write that sentence, because "Bob Smith is the new Mayor" is
> not just a fact (not copyrightable) but an expression (always
> copyrightable), completely defeating the purpose of not making facts
> copyrightable.

This is a straw man argument, a reductio ad absurdum. Nobody is
talking about copyrighting sentences. But taking a wiki page and
rewriting its content using different words would certainly hold as
plagiarism in any court, just as my rewriting of either Checkov or
Larry Wall's O'Reilly Perl book (even if I took out the religion). I
would be taking a copyrighted expression and re-expressing it,
which is a violation of copyright.

I think it's probably pertinent to point out that from a legal perspective,
a lawyer representing a client will always act in the most conservative
fashion in order to expose the client to minimal risk. In that sense,
Apache's legal team should likewise shy away from legal gray areas.
Content copied from a ambiguously-licensed web site would be very

"pure facts" or "ideas" cannot be copyrighted, but any expression of
them that could be construed as creative (such as how things are
stated) can be copyrighted. Anything "fixed in a tangible medium of
expression" can be copyrighted. After March 1, 1989 the explicit
labelling of a work with either a copyright statement or symbol was
no longer required. Works that are "fixed in a tangible medium of
expression" are *implicitly* copyrighted.

Think about this: technical documentation is baldly an expression
of "facts" about a product. If published in a book, the book is
implicitly copyrighted. As a PDF, it's implicitly copyrighted. On a
website, it's implicitly copyrighted. It's not the way that something
is transmitted but the creative act of *writing* the documentation
(expressing an idea) that is copyrighted. So, all of O'Reilly's books,
every single sentence, is implicitly copyrighted even if the publisher
neglected to put a copyright notice or symbol on the work.

'nuff said, anyway.


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