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From Rob Weir <>
Subject Re: Hunspell dictionaries are not just words lists (+ other matters)
Date Mon, 07 Nov 2011 23:34:58 GMT
On Mon, Nov 7, 2011 at 5:24 PM, Pedro Giffuni <> wrote:
> Hi Olivier;
> --- On Mon, 11/7/11, Olivier R. <> wrote:
>> I read that a legal issue would be raised about the GPL
>> dictionaries. Then Rob was wondering how dictionaries could
>> be copyrighted. I thought that if lawyers knew that
>> copyrights on such matter were irrelevant, they would not
>> forget to mention it. So that would concern every
>> dictionaries, whatever rights authors may claim on their
>> work, whatever license they chose. That was my assumption.
> There were some doubts on the impact of having a dictionary
> under the GPL and there was a line of reasoning mentioning
> it's not really code so the effect is minimal.
> If it's not code I was thinking a documentation license should
> be used instead, but thinking at it better, the grammatical and
> syntax rules make such dictionaries behave more like scripts
> than as mere data so a code license is appropriate.
> FWIW, I think Rob is talking about a completely different
> concept: IBM uses a NLP tool so perhaps for them the simpler
> structure of English is appropriately managed by an AI
> software package and a dumb list of words.

The complexity of the language is irrelevant.  The point is that the
complexity is not created or invented by the person who compiles the
dictionary.  The complexity is not the creative expression of an
author.  The compiler of a spell checking dictionary is just recording
facts about the language.  This may be difficult work.  This might
require skill. This might take a lot of time.  This might have value.
But that does not necessarily mean that it is copyright-able.  IMHO,
no single person can claim copyright on the language rules that the
French people have collectively and organically developed over 1000

> Sorry on our side too for the confusion.
> Cheers,
> Pedro.
>> Anyway, I’ll leave soon, as there is probably nothing
>> more to say.
>> Best regards,
>> Olivier

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