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Re: GPL traitor !

From: Hyman Rosen
Subject: Re: GPL traitor !
Date: Mon, 15 Jun 2009 14:02:24 -0400
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20090302)

David Kastrup wrote:
I can't put instructions for dynamic linking into a program and
> blame the dynamic linker or the person running the program according
to instructions for the created in-memory copy.

There is no blame or illegal act involved. Those dynamic libraries
are already legally present on that person's computer. Their license,
if they are under the GPL, permits them to be executed without any
restrictions or requirements. US copyright law also allows copies of
them to be made on the machine if the making of those copies is
essential to running them.

So most certainly, you can put instructions for dynamic linking
into a program and incur no penalty or requirements for such an
act. The actions of a computer program do not in any way affect
the copyrights on that program. The program does not carry out
any illegal or unauthorized actions when executed.

The act of producing a statically linked program involves creating
copies of the libraries and binding them into a collective work.

No difference for dynamic linking.  It happens at a different point
> of time, that is all, but is similarly inevitable.

It happens at a different time by a different actor. This is highly
material, because the law is different for the two cases. At static
linking time, the author is combining a copy of the library into a
collective work, and then is making further copies of the library
in order to distribute the program. At dynamic linking time, the
person executing the program is making a local copy of the library
as an essential step in executing it. Copyright law treats these
two cases extremely differently.  You dislike the consequences of
that difference, but in the reality-based community, you are not
permitted to disregard it and pretend it does not exist.

A dynamically linked program does not contain copies of the libraries
it invokes when executed.

You are confused.  An executing program is the memory image of the
program, and the running memory image most certainly contains copies of
the libraries.

But it is not the executing program which is being copied and
distributed by its creator. What is being distributed is the
computer program without the libraries it invokes on execution.
Since it contains no copies of the libraries, the copyrights
on the libraries are irrelevant to the copyright of the program.

Even if you were correct that the actions of the program when
executed affected its copyright (which you are not), the action
of loading a dynamic library in order to execute it is explicitly
permitted by US copyright law, regardless of who holds the rights
to that library.

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