One chip MSX copyrights

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Por hap

Paragon (2041)

Imagen del hap

07-11-2011, 20:27

I say KdL's "all my source code are free simply forever!" is fine enough already. Software doesn't need a license stamp on it.

Por slowerisbetter

Master (194)

Imagen del slowerisbetter

08-11-2011, 16:01

You are right @hap but it's still interesting matter to discuss.

Por RetroTechie

Paragon (1563)

Imagen del RetroTechie

08-11-2011, 20:37

How does this apply to the V9938 extensions? It’s true that the VHDL code written by ESE is written by them, but that VHDL code describes and talks about registers and data structures of the V9938 chip. Therefore the ESE code is a derived work!!!
Derived work in this context means 'copy significant parts from original source' and build your thing around that. For an IC, that is when you remove housing so you have a bare silicon die, follow traces on there & thus copy (both) layout & function. This would be copyright violation.

For most hardware it is legal to produce competing products with compatible function (for interoperability purposes), as long as you stay away from direct copying. That's not easy if you have complex designs, firmware etc.

But most (commercial) hardware designs are 'protected' by patents rather than copyrights (and when you implement an open source hardware design, you may still be infringing patents!). For old IC's like Z80 or V9938 these will either have expired or about to expire.

Also see cleanroom design. If you take ESE Artist's V9938 code, write a document that describes exactly what it does (in terms of registers, timing, how parts depend on each other etc), and I use that document to implement V9938 (without ever looking at ESE Artist's code!!!) then I'd be in the clear with respect to ESE Artist's / Yamaha's / TI's copyrights.

You make a good point there my man, but I believe the fsf and opencores etc will most probably have figured this all out before right?
Nope, this is reason why GPL was updated to v3 recently (mostly to address patent issues IIRC). With respect to open hardware designs, this is still very much in flux / new ground. For (open source) software there were some court cases about someone infringing on license (usually confirming that GPL is very much valid & enforceable), AFAIK there hasn't been a single court case (let alone one with final verdict) about someone infringing on open hardware design. Applying traditional copyright licenses to hardware is like packing a liquid in orange crates... :evil:LOL!

Either way, under copyright law it is not allowed that you try to extend your rights beyond what is granted to you by the law. If you try to do so anyway, any rights you may have been given by the copyright law will be revoked!
You have that reversed. Without copyrights, you'd be free to do anything. So copyrights just restrict rights you had before. There's some historic reasons why copyrights were introduced, today those historic reasons form near 0 justification to keep copyrights around. For example there's little (if any) scientific evidence that copyrights stimulate innovation (or that society was hurt when inventor took a secret to his grave). And most money from copyright royalties does NOT wind up in the hands of original artists / authors. So better consider it as a money-grabbing scheme by big media corporations, kept alive by the support of corrupt politicians. And because so far removed from reality, being big reason why so many people ignore copyright laws.

Personally I think laws should be based either on practical necessity (like you're not allowed to go out & bash random people's heads in), or on measurable data / scientific evidence. Failing that, scrap from the books.

@slowerisbetter: can you post replies if FSF or OpenCores answer you?

Por RetroTechie

Paragon (1563)

Imagen del RetroTechie

05-11-2012, 19:15

Sorry to pull this old thread from the grave, but this may interest you guys:

In a "ask your questions to (semi-)famous person X" story on Slashdot, open source advocate Bruce Perens was the target.

My question was moderated high, and in this story today on Slashdot, he answered the most interesting questions, including mine (he evens mentions my name! :-).

Mostly confirming that hardware & copyrights don't go well together, because hardware is a different beast than software. Basically: you can copyright your images, HDL source code, FPGA bitstreams and documentation all you want, and it will probably be protected to some degree. As for the function of what you're describing, that's fair game - apply for a patent if you want protection there. Relevant links:

Hardware isn't generally copyrightable
Computer Associates Int. Inc. vs. Altai Inc.
TAPR Open Hardware License

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