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Re: inclusion of header files lead to derived works

On Tue, Mar 23, 1999 at 02:02:55AM +0100, Henning Makholm wrote:
> 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.

This is a very interesting interpretation, and I agree with it.

But only if the Makefile is not changed at all, and if it does not "suck in"
any of the source code of the original program.

Actually I would be very surprised if there would be any situation were such
a procedure would be useful.

> > 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.

In the very restrictive situation above, you are right. However, this discussion
got a bit side tracked. Originally, we were talking about header files and
dynamically linking. As you didn't address this point in your reply, can I
take it that you agree with my argumentation? (Replace "makefile" with
"header file").


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Marcus Brinkmann              GNU    http://www.gnu.org     master.debian.org
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