Too trivail to copyright (pseudo code)
Posted Aug 19, 2003 22:17 UTC (Tue) by mammothrept
In reply to: Too trivail to copyright (pseudo code)
Parent article: Why SCO won't show the code
"It would be pretty difficult to produce a tight version of this algorithm without a high degree of duplication. I'd say you might as well cut and paste, because about the only changes that I can see making in a tight implementation would be to change the variable names. You'd be lucky to find 4 meaningful permutations of this algorithim, once you tighten up the code for the kernel."
The implication of what you are saying is that this section of code is not copyrightable under US law, regardless of whether a copyright notification is attached. First, algorithms themselves are not copyrightable because of a legal doctrine called the idea/expression merger. Ideas cannot be copyrighted. Only specific expressions of ideas can be. Further, if there are only a small number of ways to express an idea, then even the expression is not copyrightable. If there are only "4 meaningful permutations of this algorithm" then a developer could block anyone else from using this idea merely by writing the algorithm four different ways. This would be using copyright to attain patent-like protection which is not allowed.
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