By prashant on Apr 16, 2006
Monolith is a program that XORs two binary files – ie., FileA XOR FileB = FileC.
The resultant File C can, of course, be XOR'd with one of the initial files to reproduce the other file(ie., FileC XOR FileB = FileA). Surely, if B and C were freely available on the internet, and A was copyrighted(like an MP3 version of a Britney Spears' song), then distributing B and C along with a program to reproduce A would avoid copyright restrictions that were imposed by Ms Spears' hordes of lawyers?
I support what the author is trying to do(avoid music copyrights). But using Monolith is loosely the same as converting your wma file into a .ogg file, and claiming that the .ogg file does not violate copyright because your MP3 player cannot play it. Especially if your file has a .ogg extension and you have a link to the Vorbis player in bold.
Monolith's premise can have scary ramifications for free software – someone could munge a free software program. If munging a copyrighted program would void copyright, then munging a free program would void copyleft!
If she were to go further, and define a transformation on the munged program that would result in the removal of data consisting of the licensing information and author's name, then “unmunging” it will result in a new program that is the same as, but with no copyleft notice. Solaris and Linux could then be redistributed as proprietary programs by anyone who could munge-transform-unmunge!
But the interesting question that Monolith brings up – what if you were to munge a file copyrighted by Britney Spears and come out with a song copyrighted by a boy band? Who would be violating copyright then, Britney, TheBoyBand, or a you(a person can legally distribute one of these songs and has a notice on her website that says that munging this file will result in the other song)?