[linux-elitists] questions about GPL again

Jeremy Hankins nowan at nowan.org
Fri Mar 9 07:46:52 PST 2012


Greg KH <greg at kroah.com> writes:
> On Fri, Mar 09, 2012 at 12:02:03PM +0100, Eugen Leitl wrote:

>> Can somebody point me towards a definitive document or
>> piece of writing by a lawyer which definitevely shows
>> what the actual situation is?
>
> The GPL itself is very easy to read, have you tried that?

As I understand it (ianal, of course) Eugen's question isn't really
about the GPL at all, but about copyright law.  The question is whether
dynamically linking constitutes creating a derivative work.  If so, then
the constraints of the GPL would apply to that derivative work.

I have nothing to say on that question other than that, so far as I
know, this isn't a question that's been settled in court.  So it's
possible to argue over it, though most people behave as if dynamic
linking doesn't create a derivative work.

I have absolutely no idea whether it's worth it for companies to worry
about GPL "contagion" on the off chance that the courts surprise
everyone and decide that dynamic linking creates a derivative work under
copyright law.  But if the courts did make such a decision a lot of
people would be very unhappy, which I personally think is good reason to
think it's not likely.

I seem to recall that the FSF has at some point come out with a position
on this, but I'm not sure and can't be bothered to look for it atm.  But
if they have, that might be the sort of evidence you're looking for,
Eugen.

-- 
Jeremy Hankins <nowan at nowan.org>


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