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Re: What exactly is Derivative ?

Paul Nathan Puri wrote:
> However, the author of the GPLed work or the author of the GPL have the
> right to change the meaning of 'derivative' to suit their own purposes.

Where does the author get this right?  If my work is not a derivative
of the GPL'd work, under copyright law, then how can the terms of the
GPL (including its definition of 'derivative') possibly affect me?  
Remember, I have not signed any contract with the author.

> I think it would be entirely appropriate for the GPL to have an extensive
> definitions section.  Otherwise, individual coders can make their own
> definitions.

This is a practical matter, and I am not sure if it is a good idea.  The
NPL tried this, and in my opinion it's become an unreadable mess because
of it.  The lawyers may like it, but the programmers don't :)

(Certainly I would have packaged Mozilla for Debian as soon as it came
out, if I had been able to figure out my responsibilities under the
NPL.  Now it's an orphaned package.)

> The holder of the copy of a GPLed app has a contract with the author to do
> or not to do certain things according the the license.

Ah, I think this claim could use some explanation.  It's the key point
for the first paragraph above.  At what point do I become bound to this
contract?  I don't think that I do, at all, until I try to do something
with the GPLed app that copyright law does not allow me to.

> The holder of the copyright in the copy owns the right to revoke the
> license, change the license, 

Hmm, then what use is the license?  If the copyright holder can change
it at will (you do mean for _existing_ copies?), then the license is
meaningless, and no software is free.

Richard Braakman

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