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Re: Termination clauses, was: Choice of venue

On Tue, Jul 27, 2004 at 01:09:48PM -0400, Brian Thomas Sniffen wrote:
> > I had thought from previous GPL discussions that "distribute the source
> > and let users link it" was not a reasonable way to sidestep license
> > compatibility issues, because the source was still a derived work.  Does
> > this mean that one can distribute the source (or object files, even) of
> > a program that links to a GPLed library, and just let users link it?
> > That seems like a rather large loophole.
> No.  The FSF's claim is that the source for some program using, say,
> the GNU Readline library, is essentially bundled with instructions for
> building this into a binary which incorporates GNU Readline.  Anybody
> distributing such sources is very clearly suggesting that users do the
> final assembly, and has certainly built it themselves to test it.
> So there's somebody building a copyright-violating work, and
> distributing copies of it in a strangely compressed form.  That
> doesn't make it any *less* infringing.

No, there's somebody building a derivative work (the binary) and not
distributing it (which the GPL allows), and distributing a work that
is not a derivative (the source) and suggesting that others build it
(not infringing, as long as it's not distributed).

I agree that it goes against the spirit of the license, and that it
wouldn't be something to try in court--but I don't think the argument
is so clear cut.

I hope that the FSF wouldn't want strengthen the idea that telling
people *how* to violate copyright should be illegal (eg. DeCSS,
"contributory infringement").

Glenn Maynard

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