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Re: Use of GPL'd code with proprietary programs

From: Arnoud Engelfriet
Subject: Re: Use of GPL'd code with proprietary programs
Date: Wed, 7 Jul 2004 17:29:38 +0200
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.6i

Haakon Riiser wrote:
> [Arnoud Engelfriet]
> > [...]
> > Therefore the only question is whether a work linked to the
> > GPL-licensed program qualifies as a "work based on the Program". See
> > my comments above.
> Again, thanks for your comments.  Apparently, there isn't yet
> a definitive answer to the legalities of GPL/non-GPL linking,
> so I'll leave it at that.  But there is one question I'd like to
> have answered:  Would it be OK for a BSD licensed server to have
> both proprietary and GPL'd clients connected via shared memory?

The Apache webserver (which was until recently under a BSD-like
license) allows connections from Internet Explorer (proprietary)
and Konqueror (GPL). Not sure if that's what you mean, but that
is definitely OK.

Problems begin when you use this kind of technique purely to
avoid the consequences of the GPL. Courts have in other situations
ruled that doing something explicitly to get around a copyright
is an infringement. So, again, a legal risk you have to assess
and perhaps make a reservation for.

> (Disregard the fact that some proprietary licenses may forbid
> even aggregation with GPL.)  The BSD-style license is compatible
> with the GPL, but is not viral, so hopefully this should be legal.

The GPL states that if you create a derivative work, you can
only distribute that derivative work under GPL terms. It is
allowed to mix GPL and BSD code, since the BSD license is
GPL-compatible. That is, you are allowed to distribute the
result, since by obeying the GPL you also obey the BSD terms.


Arnoud Engelfriet, Dutch patent attorney - Speaking only for myself
Patents, copyright and IPR explained for techies:

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