[Inkjet-list] Hidden Gotchas in PPD File Copyrights

Michael Sweet mike at easysw.com
Mon Mar 11 09:57:47 PST 2002

Patrick Powell wrote:
> ...
> I hope you got this in writing.  Signed by a responsible
> corporate officer with copies carefully made and in your
> archives.  Note that HP, Xerox, etc. do not own the copyright,
> so they can tell you what they want.  And it is NOT binding
> on Adobe.  But at least getting this in writing will have
> HP's and others lawyers on your side. :-)


> ...
> BUT if you make a copy (of sheet music) and give it to another
> person to use,  then it is not 'fair use'.

Fair use exists within the context of the work; in the case of a PPD
file (which is usually treated as a program or part of a program),
fair use includes making temporary copies for the purpose of
communicating with the printer or selecting printer options, and
modifying the file locally to reflect default or installed options
as supported by the file.  Normally you'll see EULA's that have
clauses that allow such "normal" use "as allowed by the software".

In the case of the sheet music, you have an additional restriction
imposed by the copyright holder - you can't perform the music publicly
without permission/license.  Thus, when my father chooses a piece of
music for the choir to perform outside the church, he has to get
written permission from the publisher (and if they charged admissions
then he'd have to give them a cut of the proceeds...)

Anyways, copyright law is a slippery subject, and you definitely need
to talk with someone that specializes in the software arena.  All I
can say is what we've been told, basically that locally modifying
and distributing (to applications you run) the PPD files falls under
fair use, while distributing modified versions of those PPD files
without permission is not allowed.

Michael Sweet, Easy Software Products                  mike at easysw.com
Printing Software for UNIX                       http://www.easysw.com

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