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Re: Using non-GPL libraries in a GPL program


From: Dave Crossland
Subject: Re: Using non-GPL libraries in a GPL program
Date: Wed, 28 May 2008 03:06:11 -0700 (PDT)
User-agent: G2/1.0

On May 27, 12:16 pm, Alexander Terekhov <address@hidden> wrote:
> Dave Crossland wrote:
> > Public Domain works can be included in
> > a copyrighted work, and if modified, the modifications are subject to
> > copyright.
>
> The copyright in a derivative work doesn't cover elements taken from
> preexisting work and employed in a derivative work. (It "extends only
> to the material contributed by the author of such work, as
> distinguished from the preexisting material employed in the work" 17
> USC 103).

Thanks for the reference to what I said :-)

> Hence it is absolutely impossible to have a derivative work
> based on preexisting public domain material copyright licensed "as a
> whole" under GNUtian viral theory of "work based on". Got it now?

I got it - have you? :-)

The works that are subject to copyright must be licensed "as a whole"
under the GPL. The works that are public domain are not subject to
copyright. Hence it is absolutely trivial to have a derivative work
based on preexisting public domain material copyright licensed under
the GPL.

Are you a lawyer, btw?

> > You have totally misunderstood what "sublicensing" is: It is a legal
>
> The act of sublicensing is what happens when a licensee becomes a
> licensor to some other party by granting some or all of the exclusive
> rights that they received as a licensee.

AIUI, it is "all," not "some or all."

> The thing is that nonexclusive copyright licenses are generally
> indivisible as a matter of law (this is referred to as "settled law" in
> every source you can find) unless the licensing contract states
> otherwise. This means that a nonexclusive license does not carry an
> implicit sublicense agreement. With the exception of the MIT License
> (which contains a sublicense clause), permissive licenses generally do
> not include a sublicense right and instead offer a direct grant of
> rights from the original licensor to any recipient of source code
> released by him or her under that license.
>
> Actually, according to the 9th Circuit, exclusive licensees are not
> transferable or sublicenseable either unless the licensing contract
> states otherwise. See Gardner v. Nike, a case which appears to  have
> surprised a lot of lawyers at the time:
>
> http://www.law.berkeley.edu/institutes/bclt/pubs/annrev/exmplrs/csum/...
>
> Hth.

I fail to see how this realtes to programs made up of MIT X11 + GPL
code.


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