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Re: Bug#189164: libdbd-mysql-perl uses GPL lib, may be used by GPL-incompatible apps

Anthony DeRobertis <asd@suespammers.org>:

> > However, you could certainly distribute P on its own if
> > you could reasonably claim that P is useful without GPLLib.
> I'll further argue that P is not based upon GPLLib in any meaningful
> manner; it includes absolutely no part of GPLLib. 

If P is useless without GPLLib, then it might be argued that by
distributing P you are encouraging people to link it with GPLLib and
are thus indirectly distributing a combined work "P+GPLLib" which
infringes GPLLib's licence. That's why the existence of alternative
implementations of GPLLib is important. (Even the existence of
alternative GPL implementations might help.) However, if Debian were
to distribute P and GPLLib in such a way that P uses GPLLib by
default, then I would guess there is potentially a problem even if
there are alternative non-GPL implementations of the library.

> > which is probably doable if the
> > script makes relatively minor use of grep, etc
> I think you'd have a very hard time finding scripts which make minor use
> of GPL utilities. Even our cat program (like everything else in
> coreutils) is GPL. So is our echo program.

I suppose I should explain what I mean by "minor", though I'm not
quite sure myself. Perhaps one could compare with the situation where
someone distributes a summary of someone else's novel, compared with
where someone distributes a criticism of the novel that also
summarises it in the course of criticising it. I don't have any legal
evidence for this idea, but I suspect that in addition to how much is
taken from or used from another work, what else a work contains may be
relevant in deciding whether it is a derived or an independent work.


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