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Re: GPL and other licences

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: GPL and other licences
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2006 13:29:08 +0100

Fung wrote:
> Dear folks,
> I am currently doing some research on open source licences and while
> reading the GPL licence the following question arose: Distributing a
> derivative work combined from software licensed under [whatever]

Combining software doesn't create a derivative work under copyright 
law. If anything, it creates a compilation, not a derivative work.

If you don't happen to live in the GNU Republic, linking of computer 
programs (and libraries are computer programs) isn't one of exclusive 
rights reserved to copyright owners and any attempts to extract the 
rights to linked works which are separate and independent computer 
program works under copyright law (google the AFC test) and are merely 
linked to/from the GPL'd code constitutes misuse of copyright. The 
penalty for copyright misuse – unenforceability of the copyright in 
court until the misuse has been purged and its effects no longer 
exist – is tantamount to losing the copyright.

Outside the GNU Republic there isn't such thing as "GPL 
incompatibility". Ignore the FSF's FAQ and list of purportedly 
"incompatible" licenses.


consider the case of two scientific papers which reference each other.
The fact that paper B calls paper A (references it for support) does
not make B a derivative work of A. This remains true whether B and A
are published together in a symposium (analogous to static linkage) or
separately (analogous to dynamic linkage). Computer programs are
defined in 17 USC as literary works


Note also that exclusive distribution right is severely limited by
"first sale".

Finally, regarding ESR's statement "FSF has stated its willingness to
go to court for this position", don't believe it.

<quote copyright=Free Software Foundation>

Don't go to court

 FSF hasn't.
 Court is expensive
 Judges don't understand technology
   "Is static linking like two icons on one desktop?"
       -Judge Saris, MySQL v. Nusphere oral argument


Translation: the FSF doesn't really believe that they could fool a
judge into buying

[begin textual copying copyright=Free Software Foundation]

July 27, 2004 GPL Compliance for Software Developers Legal notes

Legal notes

Static linking creates a derivative work through textual copying

Most dynamic linking cases involve distributing the library

Still a derivative work:

Dynamic linking

Distributing only the executable (testtriangle)

Still a derivative work:

Distributing the source code of software which links to a library

[end textual copying]

FSF's "legal notes" idiocy.


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