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Re: Q: Combining proprietary code and GPL for in-house use

Scripsit Raul Miller <moth@debian.org>
> On Thu, Jun 21, 2001 at 12:18:04AM +0200, Henning Makholm wrote:
> > I don't see any minor or major copyright violations in this scenario:

> >   1) F produces a library L and releases it under the GPL
> >   2) A produces a program P that links to L.
> >   3) A distributes the source code for P (but not for L) til B
> >   4) B gets L from F and compiles and uses P.

> [1] P has no copyright on it, so it doesn't have a GPL copyright on it.

Of course there is a copyright on P. It belongs to A.

> Then: P is the source code for a program which includes L. A is
> instructing people to download L (if necessary) to compile P.

Which is perfectly fine, because all of those people explicitly
have the right to download L. There isn't even minor breach of
copyright going on in the B does.

> This is a clear attempt to evade the copyright on L.  A went to
> considerable effort to design this situation.

So? The only act protected by copyright is copying. A is doing none
of that.

> Oh, come on -- he's copying it by reference,

"copying by reference" is an oxymoron. Either you copy, or you don't.

> All that's needed for "contributory infringement" is that A make it easy
> for people to make illegal copies.

He doesn't. None of the copies made in the scenario are illegal.

> And, any distribution which results in working copies of P clearly
> involves illegal copies of L.

Which copy, precisely, do you think is illegal. The GPL explicitly
allows B to derive a non-free program from the library - he just
cannot *distribute* that no-free derived program, and he doesn't.

> I think you're arguing that binaries shouldn't be bound by the copyright
> on their source.

I'm not.

> Either that, or you're arguing that the person who compiled the
> binaries must be the person who wrote them.

I'm not.

> Either that or you're claiming that the people creating running
> copies of P aren't making any copies.

I'm not. I'm pointing out that those people (B) are explicitly
*allowed* by the GPL to create the copies they create.

Henning Makholm  "Det er jo svært at vide noget når man ikke ved det, ikke?"

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