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Big blow to GPL linking nonsense.

From: RJack
Subject: Big blow to GPL linking nonsense.
Date: Wed, 08 Dec 2010 15:55:39 -0000
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20100228)

The following decision probably settles most questions touching upon
copyright law and dynamically linking to open source code and vice
versa. Simply placing a hook in GPL source code to call independent
proprietary drivers or libraries is fully protected by 17 USC sec. 117.
Simply dynamically calling GPL code doesn't involve copyright questions
at all.

"Other passages of the report, however, describe the right to modify
programs in a manner that goes far beyond concern with compatibility and
strongly suggests that the writers of the CONTU Report envisioned a
loose concept of necessity that would encompass our very issue — the
addition of features so that a program better serves the needs of the
customer for which it was created. The report states:

'Thus, a right to make those changes necessary to enable the use for
which it was both sold and purchased should be provided. The conversion
of a program from one higher-level language to another to facilitate use
would fall within this right, *as would the right to add features to the
program that were not present at the time of rightful acquisition.*'

Id. (emphasis added). Without question, the CONTU Report, in the
italicized text, specifically contemplates protection for modifications
adding features, rather than merely securing continued functioning of
what was originally created. The CONTU Report thus persuasively rebuts
Krause's narrow reading of § 117(a)(1), which would authorize only
changes needed to permit the program to function."; Krause v. Titleserv,
Inc., 402 F. 3d 119 (2nd Cir. 2006)

The CONTU phrase ". . . as would the right to add features to the
program that were not present at the time of rightful acquisition" is a
blow to those who would restrict the scope of 17 USC sec. 117.

Recognized copyright authority William Patry (lead copyright attorney
for Google) noted this decision with approval.

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