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From: David Kastrup
Date: Fri, 04 Aug 2006 14:59:33 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.0.50 (gnu/linux)

Alexander Terekhov <> writes:

> Hey lazy GNUtian dak, why don't you simply read the paper before
> starting to exibit your stupidity as usual?
> ------
> 2. GPL Terminology and Interpretation
> a) “Works based on the Program”
> The first operative Section of the GPL (Section 0) reads as follows:
> This License applies to any program or other work which contains a
> notice placed by the copyright holder saying it may be distributed under
> the terms of this General Public License. The ‘Program,’ below, refers
> to any such program or work, and a ‘work based on the Program’ means
> either the Program or any derivative work under copyright law.

Read this again and try understanding what "under copyright law means".

> Along these lines, the second sentence of Section 0 defines “works
> based on the Program” as the Program itself or “any derivative work
> under copyright law” followed by a (not entirely accurate)
> interpretive explanation regarding what the term “derivative works”
> means under copyright law. This explanation, introduced with “that
> is to say,” gives an indication of what the GPL drafters thought,
> hoped or may argue in a dispute, is the meaning of the term
> “derivative works.” Section 2 of the GPL contains additional
> explanations and declarations of intent, which even include
> “collective works,” i.e., a term defined by the Copyright Act in
> contrast to the term “derivative work.”250 In order to resolve these
> textinternal contradictions, it would seem appropriate to rely on
> the “operative” portion of the definition in Section 0 (which
> contains the reference to the Copyright Act) and treat the
> “explanatory notes” as statements of opinion that have been added
> for convenience purposes only.251 Accordingly, the GPL would be
> interpreted to define “work based on the Program” to mean
> “derivative work as defined by the Copyright Act.”252

So where is the problem?


> Taken out of context, each of these terms seems to go

"Taken out of context"...

> In context, however, it appears that the drafters of the GPL
> randomly chose substitutes to the somewhat awkward term “work based
> on the Program” and used the substitute terms synonymously to
> improve the sentence flow and readability. This impression is
> confirmed throughout the document, which also uses other
> substitutes, including the “derivative or collective works based on
> the Program”257 and “derivative works.”258
> Some of the explanations throughout the GPL as well as the Free
> Software Foundation’s FAQ259 and “Lesser General Public License”260
> imply that the drafters of the GPL intended to cover software
> combinations that would not qualify as derivative works under the
> Copyright Act according to the test developed in this Article.261
> This is primarily evidence of a difference of opinion in the
> application of copyright law––and does not have to mean that the
> condition in Section 2(b) of the GPL covers more than derivative
> works as defined by the Copyright Act. Yet, uncertainties remain
> given the fact that the “explanations” appear within the license
> text.  ------

Well, did you read what you quoted?  It says exactly what everybody is
telling you: copyright misuse is not a question since the GPL does not
even try or claim to do anything beyond the scope of copyright.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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