[erlang-questions] Erlang documentation cleanup (PREV: R13B01 modules, quick reference)

Ulf Wiger ulf.wiger@REDACTED
Tue Aug 11 17:38:47 CEST 2009

Since you're referring to copyright lawyers here, I
think we can relate to the media industry, and observe
that if it's not ok to publish a video of your kid
playing if the viewer can discern a Prince song in the
background*, you should regard the documentation as a
trivial (from a legal standpoint) re-packaging of the
XML source.

According to Swedish law, at least, it is enough
(actually, not even required) to note the copyright
without spelling out the license. Indeed, Prince didn't
have to sing the words "you may not reproduce this song
without my permission" for his legal rights to be enforceable.

Ulf W

[*] This did happen (youtube), but I have no reference.

Michael Turner wrote:
> On 8/11/2009, "Ulf Wiger" <ulf.wiger@REDACTED> wrote:
>> You can reproduce it and modify it, but you must
>> credit Ericsson for the original, and you are not
>> allowed to put it under a more restrictive license
> Yes, but "it" is only the XML, in this case.  What's generated from
> that XML source (if the docs at erlang.org are any indication) says just
> "Copyright (C) 1999-2009 Ericsson AB", with no reference to the EPL.
> Does this mean that Ericsson puts the properly [*] human-readable
> documentation under a more restrictive license than the XML source from
> which that documentation is generated?  Or what?
>> More here:
>> http://www.erlang.org/license/EPL1x0-explained.html
> Yeah, but it still just says "code" there.  Nothing about the
> documentation.  If the XML is considered code (and the code that
> generated the docs is *definitely* code), that still doesn't
> necessarily apply to what Ericsson is explicitly copyrights with *no*
> mention of EPL, i.e., the documentation that gets generated from the
> (EPL-covered) code.
> This is kind of crazy, I know.  And stupid, too.  But also legally
> interesting.  (No, I am not a lawyer.  Just a sometime software engineer
> and sometime patent translator who has spent some time in the company of
> IP lawyers.  Let me tell you: they can smell fear.  And you know those
> rumors that they can be repelled by crucifixes and/or garlic, and can be
> permanently laid to rest with silver bullets and/or stakes through the
> heart?  Not true.  None of them.)
> -michael turner
> [*] The cavalier use of "properly" has already raised a question of
> interpretation in this thread, so let me clarify for this context: I
> don't regard XML as properly human-readable, any more than a live
> chicken is properly human-edible. [**]
> [**] Refer to "geek" in a dictionary, if you are confused by this
> allusion.

Ulf Wiger
CTO, Erlang Training & Consulting Ltd

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