Re: What exactly is Derivative ?
I've been observing a lot of this discussion.
I think that it is fair to say a lot of this discussion of header files,
and linking run-time libraries, etc. is mostly academic.
I think what this discussion centers around is the legal distinction
between an original work of authorship and an original derivative work of
A number of posts back I gave the legal definition of a derivative work of
authorship. I don't think that was too helpful.
The concern here is what amount of copying necessary to any derivative
work would negate derivative author's originality.
Any work of authorship is original if it took a 'modicum of creativity' to
create it. A 'modicum' mean a real tiny little little bit (any
In copyright law, there are no defined distinctions. For the most part
you must judge for yourself. The discussion about the GPL, LGPL, etc., is
outside the scope of copyright law, and is governed by Contract law.
Therefore, 'What is a derivative' is not a pertinent question if your
query concerns an author's rights under the license in question.
If the question is: Is X a derivative for purposes of the LicenseX. That
question will governed first by the license, and to the extent the license
incorporates legalese, by the case law and statute that defines that
legalese. To know what the license means, look to the author. To know
what the legalese means (you get the picture).
The point is that it is important to avoid mixing legal questions. The
copyright questions are separate from and have no bearing on the license
question. EXEPTION: Where the license incorporates legalese without
providing its own definition the legalese will be interpreted according to
current legal standards.
Certified Law Student
& Debian GNU/Linux Monk
McGeorge School of Law