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Re: GPL 2(b) HUH?

From: Hyman Rosen
Subject: Re: GPL 2(b) HUH?
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2008 12:50:32 -0400
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20080708)

David Kastrup wrote:
All the library parts accomplish their intended purpose in the binary,
and compiling and linking their source transforms them into the binary.

Here is a quote from the Compendium II, which the U.S. Copyright Office
uses as a manual of procedure:

    323 Derivative computer programs. A derivative computer program is
    one that is based on or incorporates material from a previously
    published or registered or public domain program that has been revised,
    augmented, abridged, or otherwise modified so that the modifications,
    as a whole, represent an original work of authorship.

The automated transformations involved in going from the source code of a
library to a binary executable are not "an original work of authorship".

In short: I read and understand your words and explanations, but they
don't seem to apply at all.

That is because you have an erroneous idea of what it means for a work to
be derivative in the eyes of copyright law. Perhaps it is because you do
not understand that the law sometimes uses English words in a technical
sense such that their conventional dictionary definitions do not apply.
In the everyday sense, one might say that a program which incorporates a
library is derivative of that library, but in the technical sense used by
copyright law, it is not.

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