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Re: GPL and other licences

From: Barry Margolin
Subject: Re: GPL and other licences
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2006 21:20:22 -0500
User-agent: MT-NewsWatcher/3.4 (PPC Mac OS X)

In article <>,
 Alexander Terekhov <> wrote:

> 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.
> 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

But that's not really a good analogy.  Combining two programs is not 
just making references, you actually merge parts of one program into a 
copy of the other.  To use your analogy to scientific papers, it would 
be like copying sections of B into A rather than referring to them in a 

I think a compilation usually means that the original works can be 
recognized as distinct components of the result.  A conference 
proceedings book is a compilation.  But when the originals are comingled 
as I describe above, the result is a derivative work, not a compilation.

Barry Margolin,
Arlington, MA
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