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Re: GPL traitor !

Subject: Re: GPL traitor !
Date: Wed, 6 May 2009 20:11:29 -0500
User-agent: slrn/ (Debian)

On 2009-05-07, Tim Smith <> wrote:
> In article <slrnh01dri.bb5.jedi@nomad.mishnet>,
>  JEDIDIAH <jedi@nomad.mishnet> wrote:
>>     Not really. The only real question is what constitutes a "derivative 
>>     work".
>>     There are certain people that have an interest in "misunderstanding 
>>     this".
> Such as the FSF?  A pure copyright license, such as what they claim the 
> GPL is, cannot protect against all of the things they want to protect 
> against, and so they make claims that aren't backed by copyright law as
> to what makes a work subject to GPL.
> For instance, suppose you have a GPL library, X, with a publicly 
> documented interface.  No other library implements that interface.  They 
> say that if you write code that can use X, your code must be under GPL.

    This all boils down to the idea that "using someone else's library"
is somehow not "using someone else's work". If you use someone else's 
library then you get to use it under the "owner's" terms.

    Try to split hairs by saying it's some sort of "strange coincidence"
is disingenous to the point where a geezer judge might not even buy it.

> However, suppose there is also a library, Y, that provides the same 
> interface as X, and Y is under, say, a BSD license.  Now, according to 
> the FSF, you can write code that calls X without it being a derivative 
> work.
> Copyright law simply doesn't work that way.  The existence or 

    No, the question is whether or not code that is entirely dependent
on some other person's work for it's existence is a derivative work. This
question doesn't magically go away just because you take the GPL out of
the picture.

    If you tried to use this sort of rationale to argue that you can
freely make Star Trek novels, you would probably get your ass handed 
to you. 

> non-existence of Y is completely irrelevant to the question "is your 
> code a derivative work of X?".  Y is relevant when it comes to trying to 
> prove the answer, but it does not change what the answer is (for 
> example, if you are accused of making a derivative work of X, and Y 
> exists, then you can simply claim you copied from Y, not X, and the 
> authors of X will probably have a hard time proving it was really X you 
> copied from).

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