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Re: this is what I got in the mail.

From:John Cowan <cowan@...>
Date:Sunday, March 16, 2003, 22:35
Christophe Grandsire scripsit:

> True, but isn't C copyrighted in the sense that it is not allowed to modify the > language itself without approval of the authors?
No, not at all. Copyright applies only to works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium. You can invent your own programming language as close to or as far from C as you want, and you can call it C, and the law will smile benignly on your efforts. "C" isn't even a trademark. You might get in trouble for fraud if you sold a program and falsely claimed conformance to ISO/IEC 9899 (the C standard), but that's about it.
> Just like the TeX source (and > thus the TeX language) is copyrighted in the sense that it is forbidden to > modify it and publish the modification under the name TeX
That is because there is a single TeX implementation, which is not the case for C. The implementation *is* copyrighted, and your right to make changes in it (in accordance with the license) is conditional on changing the name. This has nothing to do with 1) your right to write your own TeX implementation (Mung help you!), or 2) your right to write something completely different and call it "TeX". (You can't put together your own soft drink and call it "Coke", but that has to do with trademark law, which as I said depends on the trademarked item being a commercial one. C is not -- though C compilers may be -- and neither is TeX or Teonaht.) -- John Cowan To say that Bilbo's breath was taken away is no description at all. There are no words left to express his staggerment, since Men changed the language that they learned of elves in the days when all the world was wonderful. --_The Hobbit_