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Re: GPL compatibility of DFCL

On Thu, Jun 13, 2002 at 11:40:28PM -0500, Branden Robinson wrote:
> Because the Foo manual still exists as an individually copyrighted work.
> 	These requirements apply to the modified work as a whole.
> 	If identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the
> 	Program, and can be reasonably considered independent and
> 	separate works in themselves, then this License, and its terms,
> 	do not apply to those sections when you distribute them as
> 	separate works.
> 	**********************

But look at the _next_ paragraph:

> 	But when you distribute the same sections as part of a whole
> 	which is a work based on the Program, the distribution of the
> 	whole must be on the terms of this License, whose permissions
> 	for other licensees extend to the entire whole, and thus to each
> 	and every part regardless of who wrote it.

The GPL grants "permissions for other licensees", which include deleting
arbitrary parts and distributing the result.  If the GDCL does not grant
this permission, then it is not compatible.

I think that your arguments about what can be done with combined works
are coming from the wrong side of this.  The question is whether the
GPLification clause of the DFCL is sufficient, not whether an insufficient
GPLification clause could be used to hijack a DFCLed work.

Your Windows 2000 example illustrates this wrong-sidedness best:

> Here's a question for you.  If I get my mitts on the source code to
> Windows 2000, and change one line in a source file, can I then
> distribute that source file under any license I want?  The issue isn't
> the GPL, it's whether copyright is preserved in a work despite its
> modification or aggregation with a GPLed work.  The answer, as I
> understand it, is "of course the copyright is preserved."

The answer is "no", because you don't have a license for Windows 2000
which grants redistribution under any terms.  If you did have a license
for it that is compatible with the GPL, then the answer would be "yes".
(I think this is in fact the test of GPL compatibility.)

> It doesn't *matter* under copyright law (as I understand it) whether I
> passed a DFCLed document through a GPLed software strainer.  If what
> comes out is a derivative only of the DFCLed document, only the DFCL
> applies.  If what comes out is a derivative of both the DFCLed original
> document and the GPLed software, then each licenses applies to various
> parts of the work, depending on the circumstances.

But the GPL claims to grant its permissions to the whole, including every
part regardless of who wrote it.  If that statement in the GPL is not true,
then you have not (effectively) applied the GPL.

Richard Braakman

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