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Re: Use of GPL'd code with proprietary programs


From: Isaac
Subject: Re: Use of GPL'd code with proprietary programs
Date: Sat, 10 Jul 2004 18:12:06 -0500
User-agent: slrn/0.9.7.4 (Linux)

On Sat, 10 Jul 2004 23:30:58 +0100, Rui Miguel Seabra <address@hidden> wrote:
> 
> --=-6JhBhZOKGT72s1WYHe6p
> Content-Type: text/plain
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> 
> On Sat, 2004-07-10 at 23:41 +0200, Alexander Terekhov wrote:
>> Rui Miguel Seabra wrote:
>> >  You wrote the code.=20
>>=20
>> I wrote #include directive.=20
> 
> And as such, effectively include a file written by someone else into
> your work.
> 

I have two questions for you.

1.  Does the result of including a file result in copyrightable expression 
showing up in the executable?

2.  Is source code with an include directive a derivative work based on
whatever file the include directive points to?

Generally header files are full of definitions of constants and
function prototypes.  The function prototypes don't end up in the
executable.  If the programmer is careful about variable types and
promotion etc., he can compile to exactly the same code without 
using the function prototypes in a header file.  The lists of constants 
are almost certainly not protectable by copyright.  Yes, some header files
do contain actually executable code which does end up in the executable, 
but most do not.

As far as the source code is concerned, I don't believe that simply
writing an include directive is any different from referencing a
text work by title only in another work.  It simply does not affect
the copyright on the source.

include directives are simply not the same as typing a file into
a work.  

The question about the GPL and the FSF's position on dynamic linking
is not a simple because the law is unsettled on this issue and cases
can be cited supporting either side of the issue.  Simplistic arguments
that purport to resolve the issue one way or the other are almost 
certainly full of holes.

Isaac


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