[cc-community] [cc-licenses] Most important feature: GPL-compatibility

drew Roberts zotz at 100jamz.com
Sat Jan 28 10:17:05 EST 2012

On Saturday 28 January 2012 00:21:35 Ben Finney wrote:
> drew Roberts <zotz at 100jamz.com> writes:
> > Copyright applies to statues. That is art embodied in stone, wood, or
> > whatever. At some point it is the only embodiment of the work in
> > existence.
> Nevertheless, the thing that accrues copyright is *not* the stone, the
> wood, the atoms of the statue. Rather, it is the work of creative
> expression that accrues copyright. Copyright doesn't apply to the stone,
> wood, or whatever material substrate – it applies to the work.

I know that.
> > Now if a license
> You've been asking about the GPL, so I assume you want this discussion
> to continue to use its definitions.
> > requires the preferred form of the work for modifications to be given,
> > what is that form in this case?
> As has been said many times: whatever is the preferred form of the work
> for making modifications to it. If you say we're talking about the work
> of expression embodied in a carved statue, the statue would seem to be
> the preferred form.

Yes, but you cannot pin down that preferred form for the example chains given. 
And so using that language will cause problems for non-digital works with 
copyright and those working in non-digital realms with those works.
> > I keep giving examples of works where there may be at some point only
> > one copy in existence (well, one original) and that copy is embodied
> > in a physical object.
> If someone can copy the creative work of expression embodied in a
> specific statue, then we need to talk about what work of creative
> expression is being copied. What is it?
> If someone *can't* copy a statue – as you seem to imply every time you
> introduce some extra layer of the work that would be more difficult to
> copy – then why are you asking about copyright? Copyright applies when
> some work of creative expression is copied, not otherwise.

No, I am saying they can copy it. It is just that we can suffer analog 
degradation. Now the original and the copy are both instances of the same 
work but are not necessarily both examples of the preferred form for making 
further copies.

So, if I pass on the copy of the work I made, I cannot pass on the preferred 
form along with my copy as I don't own the preferred form.

> I suspect you have in mind some work that *can* be copied, but then I
> don't understand your motivation for seeking examples where the work
> can't be copied.

The works can be copied, just not perfectly copied by everyone. And a license 
which requires passing on such copies will cause problems in instances where 
they can't be passed on. 

The GPL works fine for code where we are in the digital realm to begin with. 
(Well, I have never seen any code for analog computers under the GPL.)

all the best,


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