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Re: inclusion of header files lead to derived works

Marcus Brinkmann <Marcus.Brinkmann@ruhr-uni-bochum.de> writes:

> Mr. Foo is the author of a Makefile, covered by the GPL. Mr. Bar wants to
> use it in his work. He is allowed to do so, as he can read in section 2:

Mr. Bar does not need to read through to section 2 - the second
paragraph of section 0 is enough:

| Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are not
| covered by this License; they are outside its scope.  The act of
| running the Program is not restricted, and the output from the Program
| is covered only if its contents constitute a work based on the
| Program (independent of having been made by running the Program).
| Whether that is true depends on what the Program does.

Now, a makefile is essentially a program written in the 'make'
language. Mr. Bar is allowed to run this program and use it to turn
his own source into his own executable. That does not give mr. Foo
any sort of intellectual rights to the executable, since the
executable is not a "derived" from anything mr. Foo wrote.

Note that "derived" is not defined by the GPL; it is a standard
term from intellectual property law.

Thus mr. Bar is free to release his executable under any terms he
likes. If he chooses to use the GPL, he'll have to release the
makefile. If he chooses not to use the GPL, he can do that.

> Note the "the intent is to exercise the right to control the distribution of
> derivative ot collective works based on the Program." Nowhere you can find a
> discrimination of Makefiles or source code. There are no technical features.
> It is irrelevant HOW you use the header file, if you use it at all, you are
> forming a work based on it.

This is wrong. No matter what mr. Foo says in his license statement,
he can not claim any rights that intellectual property law simply does
not give him. Since IP law does not in the first place consider
mr. Bar's executable a deriviation from mr. Foo's makefile, what
mr. Foo thinks about the topic is IRRELEVANT.

Henning Makholm

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