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Re: GPL as a license for documentation: What about derived works?

=?iso-8859-1?q?Frank_K=FCster?= <frank@debian.org> wrote:
> please point me to an older thread if this has been discussed before, I
> didn't find it in the archives.

Did you check http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html first?

I'll answer because I doubt the hard-pressed FSF enquiry service
will give answers quickly on this discouraged use of GPL. Their FAQ
about use for documentation has recently been made worse, I notice.
(Also now in sans-serif. Someone send FSF on a typography course.)

> 1. The first is whether there are any established criteria by which the
>    creation of a derived work can be distinguished from mere aggregation.

http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#MereAggregation is a starting
point, if you translate it to documents. I think it depends whether the
first work could be replaced with an equivalent without requiring changes
to the later one.

>    [...] Would such a thing be regarded a
>    derived work, and would therefore a text published under GPL impose
>    restrictions that would not hold for a text published without a
>    license, simply in printed form?

I think it would be a derived work, but you might not need to satisfy
the GPL, the same as you don't need to satisfy a "copyright me, all
rights reserved" in some cases.  I don't know about your law, but blanket
permission to copy a bit for the purpose of commentary is in English law
(CDPA Pt1 Ch3).  I think the Berne Convention means similar provisions
are in most laws, but the exact extent varies.

AIUI, the GPL can't override copyright law and it only grants extra
permissions. It doesn't take any away. A text published with no
licence defaults to "all rights reserved" usually.

Hope that helps. I am not a lawyer.
My Opinion Only: see http://people.debian.org/~mjr/

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