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Re: GPL and linking

[Note: IALNAP (I am lawyer, not a programmer), arguing solely in
Belgian/European context, and english is not my native language.]

On 07/05/05, Michael K. Edwards <m.k.edwards@gmail.com> wrote:
> Again, that's not how it works.  In the presence of a valid license
> contract, one is entitled to contract-law standards of the
> reasonableness of one's attempts to cure a breach when notified.  The
> "automatic termination" clause is probably unenforceable in most
> jurisdictions; I think (IANAL) few would even read it as authority to
> terminate on inadvertent (non-material) breach, let alone on the
> licensor's idea of breach if the licensee's (reasonable) construction
> makes it not a breach.

Automatic termination clauses are quite common, and generally held
valid. It is often only what constitutes a breach that can lead to
such termination that is disputed in court. In my opinion that is one
of the few GPL license terms that is quite sound, only the grounds on
which that termination happens seem extremely flakey to me.

As to the whole derivative work discussion, my opinion is that a judge
would rather easily decide something isn't a derived work. The linux
kernel, e.g., wouldn't need those notes of Linus to allow use of the
API and so on, on the simple reason that the kernel is designed to do
just that. In Europe at least one has an automatic license to do
everything that is necessary to run a program for the purpose it is
intended to, unless explicitly otherwise agreed to. I believe for the
GPL to rule this out, it has to draft a clause that says: you cannot
link to this program in such and such a way, unless it is also GPL'ed.
In general exceptions to a rule have to be very precise, lest they
become the rule and the rule the exception.

I am reasoning from a legal background, and I believe that is also wat
a judge would do. It is my general opinion, following Michael, that
large portions of the FSF FAQ are simply wrong. I have written some
more elaborate papers on that topic, albeit discussing intellectual
property in more general terms, focussed on Open Source. See
http://m9923416.kuleuven.be for that (unfortunately, the most
interesting one is written in dutch, and I do not have time to

Kind Regards

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