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Re: Use of GPL'd code with proprietary programs

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: Use of GPL'd code with proprietary programs
Date: Thu, 08 Jul 2004 22:36:17 +0200

Arnoud Engelfriet wrote:
> As I understand it, the interpretation of the FSF is that linking
> creates a "work based on the Program". 

Yeah. Let's see.


The LGPL is a "scaled back" version of GPL, designed specifically 
to allow creation of a very well-defined class of proprietary 
derivative works. 


We introduce the two classes of derivative works covered by LGPL, 
"works that use the library" and "works based on the library", and 
give some concrete examples of what proprietary derivative works 
are prohibited and permitted when basing the software on an LGPL'd 


So the non-"scaled back" version purports to disallow creation 
(they actually mean distribution) of proprietary "works that use 
the library" without making distiction between "works that use" 
and "works based on" (in the LGPL sense) -- they're simply treated 
as being the same using "based on" umbrella. The only 'problem' is 
that unless you happen to believe that you live in the {virtual} 
GNU Republic, "works that use the library" are NOT derivative 
works under copyright law.


RMS: We have no say in what is considered a derivative work. That 
is a matter of copyright law, decided by courts. When copyright 
law holds that a certain thing is not a derivative of our work, 
then our license for that work does not apply to it. Whatever our 
licenses say, they are operative only for works that are 
derivative of our code. 

A license can say that we will treat a certain kind of work as if 
it were not derivative, even if the courts think it is. The Lesser 
GPL does this in certain cases, in effect declining to use some 
of the power that the courts would give us. But we cannot tell the 
courts to treat a certain kind of work as if it were derivative, 
if the courts think it is not.


Now, do you seriously believe that they will be able to convince 
a non-drunken district judge (appellate and supreme folk aside
for a moment) that "works that use the library" are in fact
derivative works under copyright law?


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