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

This is not legal advice. No lawyer-client relationship is hereby
established. etc etc.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Richard Stallman" <rms@gnu.org>
To: <debian-legal@lists.debian.org>
Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2001 6:43 PM
Subject: Q: Combining proprietary code and GPL for in-house use

>     My program works well without the GPL library. Now if I sell this
>     and add a module that the customer may link with the GPL library,
would I
>     violate the GPL of the library, and why ?
> No court has ruled on this, but the FSF position is that this would
> violate the GPL.  The GPL would apply because the code is specifically
> designed to function as a combination including the GPL-covered
> library.

My difficulty with this argument is that an owner of the copy of the GPL
library has a wide right to make a derivative work on the owner's computer
by virtue of the GPL and/or a more limited right in the U.S. by virtue of
section 117 of the U.S. Copyright Act. If the end-user is licensed how is
there infringement, whether direct, contributory or vicarious? Note I
assuming here that the program and GPL library are not distributed together
as a derivative work which of course would trigger certain GPL clauses i.e.
the end-user has obtained both the program and library separately.

Perhaps I am missing an obvious point.

> The fact that it is also specifically designed to function without
> that library is neither here nor there.  Its ability to work that way
> is innocent and does not constitute a violation of the GPL, but it
> doesn't cancel or eliminate the violation.
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