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Re: [fluid-dev] Licenses compatibility

From: Rui Nuno Capela
Subject: Re: [fluid-dev] Licenses compatibility
Date: Thu, 08 Jan 2009 22:31:53 +0000
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20081227)

Miguel Lobo wrote:
>>> Those files are GPL-licensed, while fluidsynth is distributed under
>>> the LGPL.  Anyone thinking of using those files as inspiration for a
>>> fluidsynth driver should be very careful.
>> You are kidding, I suppose.
> Nope.  Admittedly, I am not a lawyer, even less so an IP lawyer, so I
> can only speak from my layman's understanding.  However, I do think
> that I've read enough about IP law to at least be able to recognise
> the sort of things that can lead to license trouble.  As someone who
> would like to be able to create LGPL-licensed derivative works of
> fluidsynth, I'm not particularly fond of the idea of making the
> licensing situation any less clear than it needs to be.
>> But seriously speaking again. When I release some program under the GPL, I
>> don't forbide anyone to look to my sources for inspiration, even if the
>> looker is not going to release his work under the same license. That would be
>> against the the free software philosophy of sharing the knowledge. What you
>> can't do is to take my whole GPL'd work and close it, or copy lage chunks of
>> code into a proprietary product.
>> Copy+Paste may violate the license terms. But reading GPL code for reference,
>> inspiration or learning is using it in a legitimate way, IMHO.
> It's not a matter of "legitimacy" or of making a good guess at what
> the author or authors of those files would want.  It's a matter of
> legality: creating a derivative work of a copyrighted work (such as
> the LinuxSampler files) is *illegal* unless you have a license that
> allows you to do so.  If you include a derivative work of those files
> in fluidsynth and distribute the result under the LGPL, you are
> *violating* those files' license.  So if someone wants to use those
> files in some way to write a fluidsynth driver, he should be quite
> confident that the driver he's writing is not going to be a derivative
> work.
> What exactly constitutes a derivative work is apparently a difficult
> question.  Maybe just reading those files before writing yours is sort
> of safe.  Any sort of copying from them would probably be entering
> questionable territory.  Anyway, as I said I'm not a lawyer, so all I
> can do is to advise people to be very careful.

i guess Stéphane has all the author/ownership rights on the source code
in question. note that he's offering the code by his own hands, so to
speak, but probably he should be a bit more explicit in his terms, eh?

being he the author and owner of copyright, he decides whether it may be
used as inspiration or not. imho, the bare act of handing the code in
this maillist is factual enough

there's no matter for (L)GPL litigation here, but again, ianal ;)

rncbc aka Rui Nuno Capela

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