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Here's a part of the GNU GPL 3.0:

  0. Definitions.

  "This License" refers to version 3 of the GNU General Public License.

  "Copyright" also means copyright-like laws that apply to other kinds of
works, such as semiconductor masks.

  "The Program" refers to any copyrightable work licensed under this
License.  Each licensee is addressed as "you".  "Licensees" and
"recipients" may be individuals or organizations.

I'm pointing at the part that says

  "Copyright" also means copyright-like laws that apply to other kinds of
works, such as semiconductor masks.

Are semiconductor masks really under copyright, or is this just an easter egg?

3

The GPL (and other licenses) work under the umbrella of copyright law(s), it is the relevant law which tells if something is copyrightable, not the license.

As far as my non-lawyer understanding goes, semiconductor masks certainly are creative works (they could be done in lots of different ways, human work/creativity goes into making them), so they are under copyright protection.

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