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Re: [ROFL] GCC's GPLv3 "Updated License Exception"

From: Alan Mackenzie
Subject: Re: [ROFL] GCC's GPLv3 "Updated License Exception"
Date: Fri, 6 Feb 2009 13:32:54 +0000 (UTC)
User-agent: tin/1.6.2-20030910 ("Pabbay") (UNIX) (FreeBSD/4.11-RELEASE (i386))

Alexander Terekhov <> wrote:

> Alan Mackenzie wrote:
>> Alexander Terekhov <> wrote:
>> > I personally believe that even if a particular instance of object code
>> > is judged to include protected expression of both/either source code's
>> > copyright owner and/or compiler's copyright owner, the resulting binary
>> > is merely an aggregation of multiple computer program works -- in
>> > GNUspeak it is called "mere aggregation".
>> This may be true.  That you personally believe this, I mean.  But that
>> belief is mistaken.
>> "Mere aggregation" means making a loose collection of separate things.

> Alan, my dictionary says that "mere aggregation" means a thing being
> nothing more than an aggregation and that it has nothing to do with
> "loose" vs "tight" aggregation.

I'd be interested to see this dictionary which has a definition for the
phrase "mere aggregation", as opposed to separate definitions for the
two words.

Anyhow, yes I agree that "mere aggregation" means what you just wrote.
The critical thing being "NOTHING MORE" than an aggregation.  If two
pieces of code are linked together, this linking is a good deal more
than aggregation, and thus is not "mere aggregation".

The word "aggregation" appears only once in GPL2, in the following
phrase: "mere aggregation of another work not based on the Program
with the Program (or with a work based on the Program) on a volume of
a storage or distribution medium".  Not even the most contorted lawyer
could twist a single compiled binary into that definition.

> Do you agree that neither "loose" nor "tight" aggregation of multiple
> independent computer program works creates a derivative work under the
> Copyright Act of the United States of America (don't confuse it with
> unwritten Copyleft Act of the GNU Republic), Alan?

I think that's fairly obvious - assuming that by "multiple" you mean
"several" (I'm not sure what a "multiple program work" is.  Something
like Open Office, perhaps).  If the works are truly independent, i.e.
have no dependencies on eachother, you can't create a work deriving
from them without creating such dependencies.

Clearly, if you put Open Office and Firefox onto the same CD, this
isn't a derivative work - it's just two things put on a medium for

It's great to be able to agree with you, for once!

> regards,
> alexander.

Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).

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