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

On Sat, May 24, 2003 at 03:51:21PM -0400, Nathanael Nerode wrote:
> On Tue, 2003-05-20 at 05:15, Branden Robinson wrote:
> > I am uncomfortable with some of the ramifications but I am also
> > uncomfortable with totally declawing the GNU GPL by adopting and
> > interpretation of it that would let people wrapper and language-bind
> > their way out of the copyleft commons.
> Anthony DeRobertis then said:
> >At some point, we've got to draw a line where it's de-clawed. After 
> >all, I think we all agree that if a shell script calls GNU grep[0], it 
> >isn't required to be under the GPL.
> This is the way I usually see it. :-)  Beware that this is not the FSF's 
> position, or anyone else's as far as I know.  The rest of this message 
> is simply *my* position.
> Programming to a public, totally open interface puts no license 
> requirements on the programmer.  By this, I mean an interface which is 
> fully documented so that many programs could implement it, and so that 
> there are no legal impediments to implementing it.  This is because the 
> subsequent use of the program (via execve, shell script, or dynamic 
> linking) constitutes normal, expected use of the program, rather than 
> creation of a derived work.

[ rest of analysis snipped ]

Bravo!  FWIW, I agree completely; my main objection to some of the other
viewpoints is that there is no place left for "normal, expected *use* of 
the program", and that any analysis which omits that is likely to be 
struck down in court, on the grounds that no matter what else is true, 
the author of the program certainly did expect that the program would
be *used* in some fashion (hence the nonsense with PHP-Nuke would be
avoided, because the author's peculiar interpretation means that there
is no way to freely *use* the software).  Also FWIW, even the abomination 
known as the DMCA permits reverse engineering for the purpose of 
interoperability, thus recognizing *use* as something to be protected even
when everything else is given to the copyright holder.

As usual, IANADD and IANAL.  This just makes sense to me *and* doesn't
leave me with the uneasy feeling that Microsoft is offering more freedom.

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