Noah silva nsilva at atari-source.com
Thu Mar 8 17:03:19 CET 2001

Just as an entertaining comparison:

An origional writing (i.e. a book) is copyrightable.  A translation is
often considered copyrightable.  (i.e. seperately from the book itself). I
believe this can be true to some extent, because while the spirit of the
book shouldn't change if it is translated from english to german, etc.,
but there may be a lot of different ways to word something in many cases.  

One thing I found amusing though, was a copyright I read on a romanji
"Translation".  For those who don't know (which I assume is most people?)
Japanese uses their own charicter set, based on pronunciation.  There is a
standard mapping (several slightly different ones, actually), used to
write the pronunciation of each japanese charicters in the roman alphabet
we use for english.  As such, the char that sounds like "ah" goes to "a",
etc.  This system is called Romanji.  So, take a word written in Japanese,
and it is very each and systematic to write it in romanji.

An example is the japanese word for "I", which has three sharicters in
Japanese, sounding like [wa][ta][she], this translates into romanji as

I saw some song lyrics on a web site translated from Japanese chars into
Romanji.  This wasn't done by the author of the song.  The amusing thing
was that they claimed Copyright for the Romanji (not the song itself)
"translation".  I think this is a bit absurd since it is what I would call
both "trivial" and "obvious" to do.  (The other entertaining thing of
course was that I am sure they didn't have the origional author's
permission to publish the lyrics in any form on the internet!) It would be
very easy to write a computer program to do that work, so it's obviously
not very creative work.  You may have wondered why I strayed so far from
the topic of this list, but I think translating a header API amounts to
about the same thing, since, again, it is rather straightforward and
obvious, and can be mechanized fairly easily.

   noah silva

disclaimer: I aced Business Law in college and High school, but I am not a

On Thu, 8 Mar 2001, Michael Van Canneyt wrote:

> On Thu, 8 Mar 2001, Noah silva wrote:
> > I tend to agree, Copyright law clearly states that "Obvious" and/or
> > "Trivial" things are not copyrightable. If you can tell from an API the 
> > structure of the data and/or the function definitions (which/I/ would call
> > trivial), then you can easily reconstruct them.  For example, looking at
> > the textcolor function, I can easily deduct something like:
> I have checked the mmsystem.pas file that comes with Delphi, and there
> is no copyright statement in it other than that of Microsoft. It does
> contain a note saying that it was translated by the 'Inprise Corporation'
> This being the case, I think we can safely use it (unless some core members
> disagree)
> Michael.
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