[ILUG] SUSE Linux 9.3 Professional Edition licensing survey
rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Apr 28 17:01:39 IST 2005
Quoting Conor Daly (conor.daly_ilug at cod.homelinux.org):
> I'm not clear on what you're saying here.
Are you clear on what a "compilation copyright" is? It's just an
abstract ownership right to the selection/arrangement of others'
property. Novell states in LICENSE.TXT that it permits you to
duplicate media that include that selection/arrangement as long as
you don't receive any consideration and don't bundle what you distribute
with any other goods or services.
I get the impression that several people aren't quite getting the
concept, and persist in the error of thinking that LICENSE.TXT somehow
has power to grant some permission over the entire 5-CD contents,
most of which Novell doesn't own at all.
I also pointed out that it's a debatable question whether that abstract
right exists at all: A judge might have to rule as to whether Novell's
selection/arrangement is creative enough to give rise to a copyright
> Is it:
> 1. After deleting a few (non distributable) rpms from the compilation, you
> retain the right under the Novell/SuSE license to redistribute? As
> SuSE Linux?
_If_ a compilation copyright interest exists at all, then Novell has
already granted you that right as to _that_ property, subject to a
couple of conditions. If the property interest exists, and you meet
Novell's conditions, _and_ you remove all non-redistributable packages,
then you can lawfully redistribute (without getting money, without
I gave my opinion that merely deleting some packages wouldn't eradicate
Novell's compilation copyright claim (if any): It's still pretty much
the _same_ selection/arragement, even with a couple of holes in it.
On the other hand, if you estimate that Novell's compilation-copyright
claim is bogus, then it would pose no obstacle to getting money or
> Actually, referring back to Rick's original post in _this_ thread, he
> quotes the license:
I'll probably soon put in a subdirectory on my Web site the complete
text of all the licence statements involved, so anyone interested can
> Given that the definition of "Software" here appears to be severely
> limited by the claim that all of the GPL programs included on the media
> are licensed by a licensor other than Novell, it seems to me that the
> redistribution right is limited to the Novell/SuSE programs, images and
> other 'wrapper' stuff that identifies this particular bundle as "SUSE
> LINUX PROFESSIONAL 9.3".
Actually, at least one GPLed codebase _is_ Novell-owned: YaST. And, in
general, each other Novell-owned package will have its own individual
licence statement of some sort. The phrase above appears, then, to be
limited to the compilation copyright. Which is the point I've made
(Obviously, Novell would not be able to grant rights to packages other
people own copyright over. I've had to make this point a few times,
 The limits of compilation copyright in the USA were set in a case
where a telephone company, Rural Telephone Service Company, republished
telephone directory listings previously published by Feist Publications
in its own telephone books. Feist sued, claiming Rural had violated its
compilation copyright over its arrangement/selection of the set of
names, addresses, and telephone numbers included. (It couldn't claim to
own the underlying data, so it claimed to own the
A judge ruled against Feist, saying that just arranging surnames in
alphabetical order is not an original and creative act, and therefore
gives rise to no property interest.
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