[Python-Dev] Copyright notices in modules

M.-A. Lemburg mal at egenix.com
Tue Jan 20 13:28:54 CET 2009

On 2009-01-20 11:02, Michael Foord wrote:
> M.-A. Lemburg wrote:
>> [snip...]
>>> Does the copyright concept even apply to an
>>> abstract base class (I thought APIs were not
>>> subject to copyright, just like database layouts
>>> and language definitions)?
>> It applies to the written program text. You are probably
>> thinking about other IP rights such as patents or designs.
> You need to read Van Lindberg's excellent book on intellectual property
> rights and open source (which is about American law and European law
> will be different). Mere collections of facts are not copyrightable as
> they are not creative (the basis of copyright) and this is presumed to
> apply to parts of software like header files and interface descriptions
> - which could easily apply to ABCs in Python.

I doubt that you can make such assumptions in general. It's a
case-by-case decision and also one that depends on the copyright
law or convention you assume.

See e.g. the WIPO copyright treaty:


and the Berne Convention:


and TRIPS:


That said, for numbers.py there's certainly enough creativity in that
file to enjoy copyright protection.

> I recommend his book by the way - I'm about half way through so far and
> it is highly readable

Thanks for the pointer.

Marc-Andre Lemburg

Professional Python Services directly from the Source  (#1, Jan 20 2009)
>>> Python/Zope Consulting and Support ...        http://www.egenix.com/
>>> mxODBC.Zope.Database.Adapter ...             http://zope.egenix.com/
>>> mxODBC, mxDateTime, mxTextTools ...        http://python.egenix.com/

::: Try our new mxODBC.Connect Python Database Interface for free ! ::::

   eGenix.com Software, Skills and Services GmbH  Pastor-Loeh-Str.48
    D-40764 Langenfeld, Germany. CEO Dipl.-Math. Marc-Andre Lemburg
           Registered at Amtsgericht Duesseldorf: HRB 46611

More information about the Python-Dev mailing list