I am author of a tool that is able to produce Markov's chains from any content . This tool produce any amount of text from substantial original content that contain only pairs of words from original text and these pairs of words are follows the rules of the language used as input. I am wondering if my tool also violates copyrigh protection laws?
I am no lawyer, so take this statement with a grain of salt. It also of course depends on the country you are residing in and its specific regulations. Based on my understanding it's not violating anyone's copyrights.
Why it could be a violation:
It is based on someone other's content. Derivative? Far fetched I think. The components that you use are not copyrighted (words - just like colors, elements, etc.). Or trademarks: Your software might be using (maybe even promoting that use?) trademarked terms. That could cause trouble.
Why I think it's not:
No creative work is being stolen or misused. Unless you consider the mere words and the number of how often they were used a creative work.
If this procedure is illegal, that would be a nightmare for all courts responsible for it. It would be impossible to proof and if you take some variations into account (as I described them earlier) it would be very hard to determine who's work it actually was that was violated.
But for you, this likely doesn't matter.
Unless you make a really significant profit from your tool, you don't want this to go to court. What would I define a significant profit? Enough, so you don't mind spending the money on a legal consultation by a IPR specialized lawyer.
I am not sure where you are from. In some countries, you could expect the first thing you hear from someone is a letter from a lawyer - and $2000 legal fee (and that's only for the "cease and desist" letter). You don't pay it - it goes to court. No friendly e-mails or one-time warnings.
Providing the service without consultation is risky in my opinion. It's like the lottery, jsut the other way round: Every week you make a small profit. On the unlikely chance that your number is being drawn - hurray. You are now bankrupt.
Edited by Saalin, 13 March 2006 - 03:36 AM.