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Re: softwarecombinations paper again Re: LGPL vs. GPL

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: softwarecombinations paper again Re: LGPL vs. GPL
Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2008 10:15:23 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.0.60 (gnu/linux)

Hyman Rosen <> writes:

> Alfred M. Szmidt wrote:
>> If the program depends on the other program in some manner,
>> then yes you do.
> Here's what the US Copyright Code says:
>     A “derivative work” is a work based upon one or more
>     preexisting works, such as a translation, musical
>     arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion
>     picture version, sound recording, art reproduction,
>     abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which
>     a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted. A work
>     consisting of editorial revisions, annotations,
>     elaborations, or other modifications which, as a whole,
>     represent an original work of authorship, is a
>     “derivative work”.
> It is entirely clear that for a work to be derivative, it must
> incorporate significant portions of the original work.

Hm?  "based upon", "translation", "fictionalization", "transformed",
"adapted" are not really "incorporate".  #include, on the other hand,

> Code written to interoperate with other code is not a derivative work
> of that code by the definition given in the law.

The courts have ruled differently for works of fiction designed to
interoperate with other fiction (namely, using the same
setting/worldview and characters).

> You don't like that?  Too bad.  Get the law changed.

It is sufficient to have it interpreted properly.

> And then be prepared when Microsoft sues Samba out of existence.

Samba does not #include any Microsoft stuff.  But yes, this is certainly
something that's in the realm of the possible.  If Microsoft has not
done this yet, it is not because they have no chance in court, but
rather because there is little strategic interest for them.

Projects like Samba have a hard time getting heavy-weight industrial
backers not least because that could make them a single target worth
Microsoft's trouble.

There is a difference between "clearcut case" and "stuff one wants to
take no chances with".  Linking and inclusion of headers is a borderline
that has not been tested thoroughly in court.

And some large companies may be quite willing to pay the price of
purported GPL compliance just to have this nontestedness continue also
regarding their own products.

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never
stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and
neither do we."

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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