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" <email@example.com>
Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2001 11:08 AM
Subject: Re: Combining proprietary code and GPL for in-house use
> Raul Miller <firstname.lastname@example.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
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.)
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