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Re: [DotGNU]Re: licensing of fox toolkit

From: David Sugar
Subject: Re: [DotGNU]Re: licensing of fox toolkit
Date: Sat, 11 Jan 2003 11:38:41 -0500
User-agent: KMail/1.4.3

On Saturday 11 January 2003 09:08, Fergus Henderson wrote:
> On 10-Jan-2003, jeroen <address@hidden> wrote:
> > A work is a derivative work from the Library, in the legal sense, if it
> > incorporates more than 10 lines of source code from the library; see LGPL
> > License statement.
> That statement is not correct.  The law does not specify any magic
> number such as "10 lines".  Furthermore, the LGPL does not imply
> what you wrote above.

What the law considers a derivative work in regard to software may still be 
very much a subject of debate.  There may be guidelines that could suggest a 
specific number of lines offered as a suggestion, but the courts have a 
number of conflicting precedents any of which suggest different outcomes.  Of 
course if the copyright holder specifies how he or she intends to interpret 
the meaning of derivative work, I would expect the copyright holders 
interpretation and expressed intent would carry at least some weight in any 
individual or specific case, especially if it is similar to either 
demonstrable accepted practices or consistent with at least some existing 
precedents.  I personally believe it is with that intent the "10 lines" 
statement in article 5 of the GNU Lesser General Public License comes from.  
However, you are very correct that there is no "law" or "article" in any 
copyright act that says 10 lines of code or less is legally not a derivative 
work :).

> > > When it is nessisary to add extra privileges to clearify issues like
> > > this, in my own opinion, one way to do that is to have a revertable
> > > license; that is you can either accept the license with some specific
> > > priviledges added, or accept and use it under the terms of the GNU GPL
> > > (or lgpl) unmodified.
> >
> > Yes.  That's what it says.
> That's not what the version posted to this mailing list earlier says.
> That version says that the requirements of your addendum take precedence
> over the LGPL, and that those requirements include an advertising
> requirement.  So according to that version, you can't use it just
> under the terms of the GPL -- you also need to abide by your advertising
> requirement.

This was my principle concern as well.  He does have an article, 5, which says 
that the addendum is revocable, in the body of a user's code, but this does 
not make it clear what happens when one distributes a "work as a whole" which 
presumably includes fox.
> > If you consider a Venn-diagram of the set of
> > "allowed uses" resulting from the LGPL license, then the set of "allowed
> > uses" resulting from the FOX license addendum contains the former as a
> > proper subset, in other words the FOX License addendum gives you
> > additional uses which the LGPL does not, but only if you meet these
> > certain requirements.
> Your intent sounds admirable, however, the version posted to this list
> earlier does not say that.

And yes, the addendum he has is certainly not a subset with only additional 
privileges as written, nor is the addendum clearly revocable when 
redistributing software as a whole.  If the addendum is revocable by the 
user, and that is made clear and unconditional, then I think there is no 
longer any conflict with the GNU GPL.  If one wants to create or enable 
additional conditions or privileges under which the code can be used and 
redistributed, perhaps in connection with enabling distribution and use in 
some additional manner in conjunction with proprietary software, perhaps with 
additional requirements when those additional uses and distributions occur, I 
see no direct problem with that, so long as one can still use and distribute 
the code in a manner compatible with the GNU GPL and hence can ignore both 
those additional privileges and any additional requirements together if one 
does not need or wish to make use of them.

While I am not interested in proprietary software, I have on occasion in the 
past used revocable privileges on the GNU GPL in distributing some things I 
have written.  When I have done so, not only have I made it clear that all 
such priviledges can be revoked by anyone when redistributing it further, I 
further enable the user to remove such additions in their entirety where it 
appears in the package when further redistributing to others if they so 

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