[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

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

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

----- Original Message -----
From: "Edmund GRIMLEY EVANS" <edmundo@rano.org>
To: <debian-legal@lists.debian.org>
Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2001 11:08 AM
Subject: Re: Combining proprietary code and GPL for in-house use

> Raul Miller <moth@debian.org>:
> > > The linking issue is a whole other matter. I am saying there that an
> > > end-user has, subject to and in compliance with the GPL license terms,
> > > wide right to modify on the end-user's computer.
> >
> > I believe you're talking about fair use.
> >
> > Does fair use apply when 10000 users wind up with identical unlicensed
> > copies of the same copyrighted work?

Actually I did not have "fair use" particularly in mind. Rather, I was
focused on this language from the GPL:

"2. You may modify your copy or copies of the Program or any portion of it,
thus forming a work based on the Program"

Why rely on the uncertain doctrine of "fair use" when the GPL provides an
explicit permission.

Note: many of the "harmful" obligations in the GPL trigger only on
distribution; remember the example I am talking about does not involve
distribution of a derived work of a GPL program rather involves combining a
GPL program (library) and a non-GPL program on an end-user's computer

> No, he is not talking about "fair use". He is, I think, talking about
> two things:
> (1) The idea that compiling and linking a program is not restricted by
> copyright; you don't need special permission to compile and link a
> program once you have obtained a copy of it. Compiling and linking
> does involve making a local copy, but this is an unavoidable part of
> using the program and you are not distributing it. Not everyone agrees
> with this idea, but most people do, I think. You can compare this with
> copying music from CD to tape for the purpose of listening to it in
> places where you don't have a CD player, something which has been
> looked at and allowed by a court in some country, IIRC. You can also
> compare with the case of someone with poor eyesight who has to
> photographically enlarge a printed text in order to read it, or
> reading a text onto tape for the benefit of a blind person who has a
> copy of the printed text. Also, there's web caching ...

We'll I am assuming compiling and linking involves one or both of creating a
copy and creating a derivative work. So in the absence of a permission or
exception in the law that's copyright infringement (no distribution is
required to trigger infringement; copying and/or creating a derivative work
is sufficient). In the U.S., the fair use doctrine may get you to
non-infringement or section 117
(http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/117.html). In other countries, it
could be a whole different story - most countries have a very narrow concept
of "fair use" / "fair dealing" and provide no similar exception as section
117 of the U.S. Copyright Act.

> (2) The way the GPL seems to support this idea:
>   Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are not
>   covered by this License; they are outside its scope.  The act of
>   running the Program is not restricted, and the output from the Program
>   is covered only if its contents constitute a work based on the
>   Program (independent of having been made by running the Program).
>   Whether that is true depends on what the Program does.
> (That quotation from the GPL was "fair use", by the way. I quoted a
> small part of the work for the purpose of talking about it.)
> Edmund
> --
> To UNSUBSCRIBE, email to debian-legal-request@lists.debian.org
> with a subject of "unsubscribe". Trouble? Contact

Reply to: