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Re: [libiberty copyright assignment audit] cp-demangle.c status

I said:
> If on the other hand, the file claims that it is a separate program, and 
> does not claim that it is part of GCC, then there is some question as to 
> whether it is in fact part of GCC or not.  (Normally I would say 
> that being distributed in the tarball for X would establish something 
> as being 'part of X', but there are numerous examples explicitly to the 
> contrary in the GCC tarballs.)  This status affects the impact of 
> the copyright assignment statements.  :-)  Gross, eh?

Dewar said:
>I disagree, the statement in a file cannot be authenticated easily. A
>copyright assignment is a legal document that assigns certain items. 
>What items are covered is a matter of description in this contract.
Yep.  The description raises a question of fact.

>The issue is wheter something *is* part of GCC, not whether it claims 
>to be if the copyright assignment assigns any code that is part of GCC.
Yes, certainly.  All kinds of evidence could be brought up regarding 
that question (is it part of GCC?) if it ever went to court.

I believe, however, that having a file *distributed by the FSF* (one 
of the parties to the copyright assignments) in the "GCC" tarball, containing 
a statement that the file was "part of GCC"; such that anyone modifying 
the file would presumably have to read that statement when modifying it, 
so that they (the other parties to the copyright assignments) would 
implicitly be accepting the claim that it was part of GCC; is 
strong evidence that the file is, in fact, part of GCC; or at least that
it was considered to be such by the parties to the copyright 
assignment, which is important in the context of the copyright 


>I think it unlikely that the statement in the file would have very much
>force (due at least in part fo the issue of authentication).

What authentication problem?  This is the version of the file 
distributed by the FSF and read by people modifying it.  See above for 
why I think it constitutes evidence (when it's present).

People who modified the file while it did not contain such a statement,
could reasonably have been under the impression that it was not part of 
GCC and was not affected by the copyright assignment.  Similarly, the 
FSF could reasonably have been under the same impression (they weren't 
distributing anything making definite claims to the contrary).  Hence, 
there's an ambiguity.  

I believe it would probably be concluded that the file was, in fact, 
"part of GCC", but having the statement should provide more evidence 
that it was, for the purposes of the copyright assignments.

Zack's statement that *he* believed the file was covered by his 
copyright assignment should be evidence that it was covered as well. 

(I have, incidentally, assumed that everyone involved knew that "GCC" 
and "GNU CC" referred to the same thing, since I've never encountered 
anyone who didn't.)

Disclaimer:  This is not a legal opinion.  (Heh... it's a 'factual 
opinion', I guess...)

The FSF's lawyers should probably decide what *their* opinion on this 
topic is, and what they consider sufficient evidence that the copyrights
were assigned, disclaimed, or nonexistent.  (I wouldn't be surprised if 
they decided that they didn't need anything additional, on the grounds that 
the people involved all agree that the FSF holds sole copyright -- but 
I don't actually know what they would decide in practice.)

Nathanael Nerode  <neroden at>

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