You are here

Violating copy right

15 posts / 0 new
Last post
Anonymous (not verified)
Violating copy right

If you make a non-open source application, auto-launchable, are you violating the copy right law?

Thox
Offline
Last seen: 16 years 5 months ago
Joined: 2006-02-09 06:46
No

By "auto-launchable", I assume you mean the portable launchers that are being distributed lately. These launchers do not affect any copyrighted software exactly.

I'm pretty sure all of John's launchers are for open source applications. Reg Rapper (and similar launchers) are just automated registry backup/restore programs. I can't see how this would violate any copyright.

I'm not a lawyer, but I'm pretty certain that no copyright is being broken for these applications.

koorosh (not verified)
Thanks for the comments,

Thanks for the comments, what I meant was for instance if you make an Adobe software (or any commercial application) and make it portable, would it violate the copyright.

John T. Haller
John T. Haller's picture
Online
Last seen: 35 min 9 sec ago
AdminDeveloperModeratorTranslator
Joined: 2005-11-28 22:21
It depends...

You are actually enabling the end-user to commit a license violation, though you are not commiting one yourself.

And if you were to call your launcher "Portable Photoshop" or "Portable Illustrator" that would be a violation of US and international trademark law.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

Bruce Pascoe
Offline
Last seen: 11 years 3 weeks ago
Joined: 2006-01-15 16:14
...

You're one to talk. Smile Portable Firefox, Portable Thunderbird... the whole nine yards. Not to say that I agree with this particular aspect of trademark law.

John T. Haller
John T. Haller's picture
Online
Last seen: 35 min 9 sec ago
AdminDeveloperModeratorTranslator
Joined: 2005-11-28 22:21
Depends

First, they're open source projects, which are generally far more understanding of stuff like that... though not always, as we've chatted about Smile Second, I follow all of the guidelines for trademarks, etc. Third, Mozilla's been very supportive of both projects to this point, even doing a press release about them. Fourth, I'm in the process of a formalized licensing agreement to use the names Smile

And, yeah, we're on the same page with respect to the current state of copyright and trademark laws. I'd guess you'd share my opinion on software patents, too.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

Bruce Pascoe
Offline
Last seen: 11 years 3 weeks ago
Joined: 2006-01-15 16:14
...

You didn't notice the smiley in my post? I meant that remark in good humor.

Anyway, if your general opinion of software patents is "stupid idea", then yes, I agree. Patenting an entire piece of software is bad enough; patenting individual algoritms is completely asinine and ultimately stifles innovation.

In case you haven't figured it out by now, I'm almost completely against IP laws. The only one I think is a good idea is trademark law (stealing somebody's trademark is basically identity theft... actually a sort of reverse plagiarism). However, there are quite a few tenets of trademark law that I'm opposed to. For my opinion of copyright laws, read the following article:
http://www.copyrightmyths.org/promise

John T. Haller
John T. Haller's picture
Online
Last seen: 35 min 9 sec ago
AdminDeveloperModeratorTranslator
Joined: 2005-11-28 22:21
Oh I did...

I noticed it... hence my smileys, but it is indeed still legally trademark infringement in the eyes of the law, so I felt having the rundown of points would make sense here.

Yeah. Software patents are just an exceedingly bad idea that are slowing the progress of the US software industry. Some areas of the world have been successfully resisting them, which is great. But others...

I think some IP laws are necessary. Trademarks, as you said, are important to identity. I think copyrights need to exist in some form, but very different from what we have.. more balance is necessary. I like the founder's copyright at Creative Commons for most things. And there should be rights of media movement, time-shifting, recording, backup, etc.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

inviernos (not verified)
Reverse engineering might be a problem

Most commercial software has licensing issues re reverse engineering, which I presume would be necessary in order to make the changes necessary.

As far as copyrights are concerned, changing even the look and feel of the prog might constitute such an offense. I'm not an attorney, either, but if it was me, I would proceed very carefully.

Bruce Pascoe
Offline
Last seen: 11 years 3 weeks ago
Joined: 2006-01-15 16:14
...

EULAs want you to believe reverse engineering is illegal, but I'm pretty sure that practice is protected under other laws.

Bruce Pascoe
Offline
Last seen: 11 years 3 weeks ago
Joined: 2006-01-15 16:14
Depends.

If you make a portable launcher for your own use and never distribute it, that automatically falls under fair use. Copyright law only comes into play when you distribute something.

Now, as for whether making an application portable (assuming you distribute that portable version) violates the copyright, that actually depends. Most commercial EULAs forbid you to redistribute the application; if they're generous and the program is freeware, they'll let you redistribute it verbatim (as in, the original setup.exe) but that's about it. Now, I'm no lawyer, but I'm pretty sure that since the launcher is little more than a front-end and not--legally speaking--a derived work, merely distributing the launcher alone without the application does not violate the copyright.

John T. Haller
John T. Haller's picture
Online
Last seen: 35 min 9 sec ago
AdminDeveloperModeratorTranslator
Joined: 2005-11-28 22:21
I think so..

I'm not a lawyer, so I could be completely talking out of something besides my mouth, but that's the way I would read it. As long as you don't use a trademark in the name of the launcher program, you should be ok.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

koorosh (not verified)
Further Copyright issues

Well, let's put it this way, if you have an application that controls another licensed application, what is the copyright concern then??

John T. Haller
John T. Haller's picture
Online
Last seen: 35 min 9 sec ago
AdminDeveloperModeratorTranslator
Joined: 2005-11-28 22:21
Naming

The concern would be the naming, at least. That's why Deuce renamed the Portable Photoshop launcher to Portable PS. Adobe could have come after him under trademark law on the first name.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

Bruce Pascoe
Offline
Last seen: 11 years 3 weeks ago
Joined: 2006-01-15 16:14
Correct.

The only problem I can think of is trademark issues (if you even distributed it). There are no copyright concerns, since what you're creating is a front-end. Under copyright law, such a launcher can't be considered a derivative work unless it implements at least some code from the original application (which it doesn't). That's like saying Windows Explorer (or even Windows itself) violates everyone's copyright because it's capable of correctly launching their applications.

Take Portable Firefox, for instance. In order to launch Firefox portably, it sets a few environment variables and passes a -profile switch to firefox.exe in order to specify the correct directories to use to make it portable. These features are public knowledge; making a launcher that takes advantage of them doesn't violate Mozilla's copyright. The water gets a bit muddier, of course, if you start using undocumented features... usually, such undocumented features are meant for internal use only and hence using them in your launcher creates a derivative work.

In short, trademark is the only IP law you should have to deal with. Copyright isn't even an issue in this case.

Topic locked