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Re: The worst that can happen to GPLed code

From: Stefaan A Eeckels
Subject: Re: The worst that can happen to GPLed code
Date: Sat, 19 Jun 2004 00:02:38 +0200

[attributions fixed]

On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 19:50:34 +0200
Alexander Terekhov <> wrote:

> Stefaan A Eeckels wrote:
> [...]
> > Lee Hollaar wrote:
> > > But if you instruct the end user on how to do it, starting with
> > > lawfully acquiring a copy by downloading it, then it would be
> > > legal.
> > 
> > Indeed, no problem with that, ...
> Again, for each copy of "infringing" compilation/aggregation (that 
> contains GPLed work) you might want to sell/distribute, I (or any 
> one else) can "sell" you (and the entire world) a copy of the GPLed 
> work you need that you can pass along without authorization of the 
> copyright owner(s) under first sale doctrine.

What's the point? You don't need first sale if you want
to give somebody a copy of a GPLed work, and you cannot
use first sale to circumvent the GPL. 

If you combine a GPLed work with non-free software
in a single package, and make it obvious that the two
are supposed to work together, you will find that the
copyright holders of the GPLed work might feel that you
are not respecting their license, and sue you. Then no
amount of the bluster you show in this newsgroup will
make that lawsuit go away, and the outcome isn't guaranteed
to be in your favour (trust me, that's the case with all

> Idiotic "derived work" theories is the only way to make the
> [L]GPL work as intended by the FSF.

What matters is not that you find these "theories"
idiotic, but that they are arguable in court.
I think that hardly anyone would argue that an executable
that contains code from two sources is a derivative work
of both of these sources. Even if it's merely what you
call a compilation/aggregation, it is only fair that both
copyright holders should exercise control over the 
distribution of the work.

In the case of a program that dynamically links with a
library, I have little sympathy for the viewpoint that
the author of the library could determine what the author
of the program can do with her code. Clearly, the combining
of the compiled program with the dynamic library yields
something that is a derivative work/compilation/aggregation
of the program and the library, but it happens in the user's
machine and as part of what is specifically allowed by
the copyright statutes. But hey! I'm not a lawyer, I
cannot stop the copyright owner from suing me, and I don't
care enough about the issue to waste my time and money in
court, so I will not go against the wishes of the author of
a GPLed library. The point is moot anyway as most libraries
are distributed under the Lesser GPL. Just don't use code
if you don't like its license.


Now you're doing it again :-)

"What is stated clearly conceives easily."  -- Inspired sales droid

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