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Re: Copyright issues

From: Hans Aberg
Subject: Re: Copyright issues
Date: Tue, 8 Sep 2009 18:01:13 +0200

On 8 Sep 2009, at 16:51, Reinhold Kainhofer wrote:

Can you please read the GNU GPL before spreading too much nonsense?

It is not about the GPL, but the WIPO copyright treaty, and copyright
law. The GPL cannot override that.

gs is GPL v3+, so anything that links to it has to be compatible to GPL v3.

The GPL 3.0 now contains the following quote. It looks to me as saying that for linking, the interface must be made public, but does not say anything about the program itself. Read yourself to see if you agree with my interpretation. I brought up this point with RMS - the things is that copyright roughly speaking protects the distribution of the parts that are humanly creatively unique (suggested by the Beastie flute sample case). But it is not possible for one copyright license to interfere with another copyright ownership.

The "Corresponding Source" for a work in object code form means all the source code needed to generate, install, and (for an executable work) run the object code and to modify the work, including scripts to control those activities. However, it does not include the work's System Libraries, or general-purpose tools or generally available free programs which are used unmodified in performing those activities but which are not part of the work. For example, Corresponding Source includes interface definition files associated with source files for the work, and the source code for shared libraries and dynamically linked subprograms that the work is specifically designed to require, such as by intimate data communication or control flow between those subprograms and other parts of the work.
Lilypond doesn't link, but simply call it, so there's no restriction here.

That is what I say: the form is looser, so it should be less complicated and controversial.

The WIPO copyright treaty says that programs are protected as literary works in the sense od the Berne convention. So think about books. So this situation is more like a bookstore wanting to sell a book package.

However, as the installer also bundles gs, the provisions about distributing copies of gs found in the GPL v3 have to be fulfilled. Section "6. Conveying Non-Source Forms." is about distributing compiled versions, but I don't see any further restrictions there (source code available, etc, of course).

So, what's the problem here?

Yes, this is what I also said. In your redistribution, you must make sure that you fulfill the copyright conditions, in as much as they do not abrogate local copyright law, of the individual packages.

If GPL was able to impose conditions of other software components, then it would not be possible to distribute GPL'd Bison with BSD'd Flex, and not would Mac OS X be possible, which contains many GPL'd components along with some which actually are closed source.


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