I don't contest the potential applicability here, but Midway Mfg v. Arctic
International is remarkably bad law. Artic International was held
to be a contributory copyright infringer for selling what amounted to a CPU
speedup kit. This was not concluded on any textual basis, but rather on an
attempt to divine the legislative intent behind the definition of a
"derivative work", i.e. if it affects the plaintiff's business, it
must be derivative, no matter how trivial the combination is. By
the Midway standard, inserting an unlicensed network adapter could
be an infringement on the copyright of the motherboard manufacturer.
The other problem with many of the theories enumerated here is that they have never been tested. Is Samba a derivative work of Windows just because they communicate using the same protocol, for example? Or how about the suggestion that "mere aggregation" creates derivative works? In addition, the idea that the order of fields in an API structure isn't functional is laughable on its face. If you change the order, the API ceases to function.
Of course the ultimate problem here is that historically the courts have been heavily biased in favor of the copyright holders on the most trivial points, with no basis in positive law, such that as with patents, their decisions tend to function as a net drag on the progress of science and the useful arts, rather than any kind of benefit. Congress could easily fix this problem, but unfortunately they tend to abdicate their responsibility on such matters.
Copyright © 2017, Eklektix, Inc.
Comments and public postings are copyrighted by their creators.
Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds