Noob GPL Licence Question

Peter Whittaker pwwnow at
Tue Feb 20 14:17:26 CET 2007

On Tue, 2007-02-20 at 21:42 +1100, Greg wrote: 
> My Question is: Since, I have determined the meanings from several different 
> ITUT specifications, does this mean that the code cannot be GPL?

IANAL, but: ITU-T specifications/recommendations are copyright by the
ITU-T. Your implementation of any ITU-T spec/rec is copyright by you.

Again, IANAL, but AFAIK the only thing that might prevent you from being
able to release code you've written to implement an ITU-T spec/rec would
be patents or other restrictions on the ideas in the specs/recs
themselves: ITU-T does publish encumbered specs/recs though their policy
is for "open and non-discriminatory" licensing (no comments made nor

You would still hold the copyright to your code, you just would not be
able to use it or release it anywhere the patent applies, because your
code implements an idea that belongs to someone else. (Note to self:
Very dangerous, this could lead to an OT flame-fest and fill my inbox.
Consider removing before hitting Send... ...oops, too late.)

In other words, the documents themselves are copyright and this is part
of how the ITU-T funds itself: By selling copyrighted hard and soft
copies of the specs/recs. The copyright applies to how the functional
ideas are expressed, and not to the functional ideas themselves, that's
what patents are for.

Of course, this may vary by jurisdiction, this is my understanding of
Canada and the US.

So fill your boots, code away, beware of patents, eat plenty of fruit
and vegetables, YMMV, etc.


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