What does Copyright mean?

21 01 2007

Dictionary.com has many meaning including:

The legal protection given to published works, forbidding anyone but the author from publishing or selling them. An author can transfer the copyright to another person or corporation, such as a publishing company.

Wikipedia has it as:

Copyright is a set of exclusive rights regulating the use of a particular expression of an idea or information. At its most general, it is literally “the right to copy” an original creation. In most cases, these rights are of limited duration. The symbol for copyright is ©, and in some jurisdictions may alternatively be written as either (c) or (C).

I guess my interpretation of it is as follows:

If I spend a heap of time building something, I don’t expect someone else to come along and blatently rip it off

Why am I sharing this with you all? Well whilst browsing through the Windows Live Gallery today when I noticed a gadget that bore more than a striking resemblence to the OptusNet Quota gadget. Not only were the images the same, when I downloaded it and had a look at the source code, the variables, procedure names and filenames were all the same. Including the Copyright notice that states:
// OptusNet Quota – Version
// Copyright 2006, Alexander Burton.
// All rights reserved.

Now I appreciate that there are only a certain number of ways to write a sidebar gadget, and there are definately going to be similarities between things, but this is just plain cheeky.

I also appreciate that gadget source code is intrinsically open to public scrutiny, to be honest, I am not fussed if someone reads the source code to work out how something is done, but don’t just blatently copy it.

From now on I will be Obfuscating the source code, it won’t stop it being ripped off, but it will make it harder.

Update:  It seems that there are three gadgets by this particular author all using my code and displaying my copyright. Arghhh.



One response

21 01 2007

I think copyright and intellectual property needs a good hard rethink for the digital age. It is a new environment, and all those old concepts were developed to deal with one media – that of print.

Different world, different rules


btw I’m not saying it’s a free for all

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