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Re: IBM doesn't like the GPL

From: Hyman Rosen
Subject: Re: IBM doesn't like the GPL
Date: Thu, 19 Mar 2009 18:48:37 -0400
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20081209)

Alexander Terekhov wrote:
First off, a program which links with Apache-licensed code is NOT "based
on" Apache-licensed code (in a derivative work sense) as long as it
doesn't contain any protected material taken from Apache-licensed code.

No. Such a program is not a derivative work in the sense of copyright law,
but it is a derivative work in the sense of the Apache license. The two
are not the same, because the Apache license defines its own meaning for
derivative work.

Secondly, a copyright in a derivative work under 17 USC 103 (and its
author's ability to license derivative material on its own terms)
encompasses only new material which is "the editorial revisions,
annotations, elaborations, or other modifications[, which] represent, as
a whole, an original work of authorship".

True, but irrelevant.

Let's call that work 'B' and employed preexisting material 'A'. Okay?
Now, in the GNUish speak, "a whole" is A + B = D and a whole D is
purported to be licensed under the GPL.


But the Apache license doesn't allow that!

Yes it does:
    "Derivative Works" shall mean any work, whether in Source or Object
    form, that is based on (or derived from) the Work and for which the
    editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications
    represent, as a whole, an original work of authorship. For the purposes
    of this License, Derivative Works shall not include works that remain
    separable from, or merely link (or bind by name) to the interfaces of,
    the Work and Derivative Works thereof.
    Subject to the terms and conditions of this License, each Contributor
    hereby grants to You a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge,
    royalty-free, irrevocable copyright license to reproduce, prepare
    Derivative Works of, publicly display, publicly perform, sublicense,
    and distribute the Work and such Derivative Works in Source or Object

The Apache license says that only A can be licensed under the GPL (as
long as the GPL complies with the Apache license -- let's not go into

The Apache license gives permission to sublicense any work "based on" the
covered work, which includes programs that are statically linked with the
covered work. The exclusion in the Derivative Works clause means that works
which just link dynamically to the covered work do not need any permission
at all - it's a loosening, not a restriction.

> What say you now Hyman?

That you are, as usual, wrong.

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