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Re: GPL: collective works

ferret@phonewave.net wrote:

> I think about it something like this:
> I have book A about a princess who falls asleep when kissed, and book B
> about a prince who turns into a frog when kissed.
> I place both books next to each other on the shelf. This is an
> aggregration and the copyright does not matter.
> I cut the front binding from one book and the back binding from the other
> book and paste them together to form a new book. This is a collective work
> and the copyright matters.
> So no, placing the books next to each other is not the same as gluing them
> together. And aggregraton is not the same as creating a collective work.

(to be honest I do not like dealing with analogies.  books are very
different than GPLed software that can be copied, modified, and

So aggregation is not *always* creation of a collective work; that I now
understand.  But aggregation is in some cases creation of a collective
work, right?  Like Debian GNU/Linux?  Red Hat Linux?

Let's say I build emacs (GPLed) and apache (custom license, similar to
original BSD license), and then place the resulting binaries and
original sources on a CD-R for backup purposes.  That would seem to be
mere aggregation, which is allowed.  If I then give that disk a product
name ("Kimball's Power Pack"), burn thousands of copies, and sell those
copies, that would seem to be creating and distributing a collective
work.  Section 2b of the GPL requires that the collective work be placed
under the GPL, which is not possible because I cannot change apache's
copyright license.  And yet this happens thousands of times a day.

Where have I gone wrong?

These seem to be the relevant portions of the GPL, from section 2:

     b) You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in
     whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any
     part thereof, to be LICENSED AS A WHOLE at no charge to all third
     Thus, it is not the intent of this section to claim rights or
     contest your rights to work written entirely by you; rather, the
     intent is to exercise the right to control the distribution of
     derivative or COLLECTIVE WORKS based on the Program.

     In addition, MERE AGGREGATION of another work not based on the
     Program with the Program (or with a work based on the Program) on a
     volume of a storage or distribution medium does not bring the other
     work under the scope of this License.

(emphasis mine)

Brian Kimball

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