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Re: GPL and other licences

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: GPL and other licences
Date: Thu, 02 Feb 2006 16:55:10 +0100

GNUtian logic in action.

GNUtian Rui Miguel Silva Seabra wrote:
> On Thu, 2006-02-02 at 14:07 +0100, Alexander Terekhov wrote:
> > One can download a copy of GPL'd work (without any "I accept") directly
> > to a compilation on a tangible medium. In source code or object code
> > form (both forms are wildly available).
> Of course, you don't have to agree when your rights are increased upon
> copyright law, only when they are decreased. The decree of rights is
> unilateral, you can only abide them or not at all.


> > Archivers and linkers don't create derivative works.
> Yes on the first case, not on the second. In the second case you make a
> work that is the direct combination of two works, without either of
> which nothing exists.
> Either you are allowed to combine thus creating a derived work or not at
> all.

When two or more preexisting works are combined to form a new work, 
in copyright law that work is called a “compilation” – “a work formed 
by the collection and assembling of preexisting materials or of data 
that are selected, coordinated, or arranged in such a way that the 
resulting work as a whole constitutes an original work of authorship.” 
The copyright in the resulting overall computer program comprises the 
copyrights in the preexisting component computer programs and a new 
copyright in the compilation. But that compilation copyright is very 

There's no exclusive right to prepare compilations -- you just can't 
"allow" it.

Once you've got a lawfully made copy of a "computer program" (a set 
of instructions... see the definition) for example in source code 
form, you can reproduce it in object code form (as an additional 
copy per 17 USC 117) using compilation process (as in computing), 
link it together with other stuff and run. It's all allowed per 

Furthermore, 17 USC 117 entitles the owner of a lawfully made copy 
(source code see above) to distribute those additional copies (in 
object code form see above) "along with the copy from which such 
copies were prepared".

> > Nothing is merged "in linking software."
> Of course not, in the domain of lies, mischiefs and circular
> self-references.

Apart from "circular self-references" this nicely characterizes the
domain of GNU.


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