[Mono-devel-list] Mono's Random class and licensing

Matthias B. msbREMOVE-THIS at winterdrache.de
Sun Aug 1 06:15:01 EDT 2004

On Sat, 31 Jul 2004 16:43:42 -0500 Marcus <mathpup at mylinuxisp.com> wrote:

> Given that copyright covers the *expression* of ideas but not the ideas 
> themselves, it should be possible to write a code that does the same
> thing. It's unclear how much a program has to differ from the one in the
> book.

I think that the following case presented on Groklaw makes this quite


I haven't looked at the code in question but random number generators
usually don't contain a lot of "original" components. All implementations
of the same RNG will be nearly indistinguishable. Originality is basically
limited to variable names and comments, the rest is dictated by the
algorithm (which may be patented but not copyrighted). 
My reading of the above case suggests that after renaming of variables and
eliminating copied comments there will be nothing left after abstraction
and filtration that could constitute copyright infringement. Note that the
case makes it (IMHO) quite clear that it is irrelevant if the code is
derived by modification of a literal copy rather than being an independent
implementation by someone who was never exposed to the original code.
Intermediate steps are not considered when deciding if there's
infringement. So taking a literal copy and editing out original bits is a
legitimate way to avoid infringement.


Dyslexics have more fnu.

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