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Re: Licensing question about the BSD

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: Licensing question about the BSD
Date: Wed, 03 Aug 2005 12:19:41 +0200

Steve wrote:
> > Drivative works of BSD'd code (derivative literary works [modulo the AFC
> > test] under copyright law) are subject to BSD. In source code form, such
> > derivative works are subject to BSD and only the BSD -- you simply can't
> > modify/extend/etc. original license (unless you're the copyright owner
> > in original works).
>         Are you saying that if one creates a derived work from BSD-licensed
> software, they can apply any additional licensing terms they wish to the
> compiled binary output... but those terms would not apply to the source
> code itself?  I must say, that's an extremely BIZARRE distinction to
> wrap my head around!

I see nothing bizarre here. Apart from the (lack of) obligation to disclose
source code of derivative works, it works similar to the CPL, for example.

"A Contributor may choose to distribute the Program in object code form 
 under its own license agreement..."

See CPL section "3. REQUIREMENTS".

> > Eh, as long as he didn't modify any BSD'd code, all his works are GPL'd
> > and they are separate (literary) works from BSD'd (literary) works from
> > "A". And a combination (compilation) of all those works is another
> > non-derivative (under copyright law, not metaphysically) work and it is
> > subject neither to GPL nor BSD.
>         You've lost me on this point as well.  Are you trying to say that
> incorporation of another project's code into your own project does not
> constitute a "derived work" so long as you don't modify the code you've
> incorporated?  

It doesn't constitute a derivative work under copyright law.

>               Why is it then that if I build an application on
> MS-Windows using the Cygwin port of GCC, even though I haven't altered a
> single line of GPL'ed code, I am still forced to license my work under
> the GPL... because Cygwin dynamically links my code to a GPL'ed DLL.

No. That's because you've been fooled (not really forced) by the FSF's 
baseless propaganda regarding linking, I suppose.

>         I understand that "compilations" are not subject to the GPL or BSD
> (i.e. I could create a proprietary IDE by packaging a BSD'ed text editor
> and the GCC compiler).  However, it's always been my understand that
> LITERALLY embedding someone else's code in your own software (including
> static or dynamic linking) subjects you to the GPL.  That's the entire
> purpose behind the LGPL, isn't it?

See and also nice review of that 
book at Here's what Rosen
had to say about the LGPL:

"The LGPL, therefore, is an anomaly—a hybrid license intended to address 
 a complex issue about program linking and derivative works. It doesn’t 
 solve that problem but merely directs us back to the main event, the 
 GPL license itself."


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