Re: non-free firmware in kernel modules, aggregation and unclear copyright notice.
> > That is the point: the result is not a single work. It is a
> > collection or compilation of works, just like an anthology. If
> > there is any creativity involved, is in choosing and ordering
> > the parts. The creation of works that "can be linked together"
> > is not protected by copyright: the literary analogy was to
> > "create a robot short story". Such a story could go into an
> > anthology called (duh) "Robot Short Stories", but its
> > licensing is independent of every other robot short story in
> > the world -- except those it is a derivative work of.
On Thu, Apr 14, 2005 at 10:44:10AM -0700, David Schwartz wrote:
> That's fine then, if you want to define derivative work in this
> way, then I can configure, compile, and link the Linux kernel without
> permission of the copyright holder under first sale (since no derivative
> work is created). I can write a program that uses a library, compile
> my program, and link it to the library, again without creating a
> derivative work.
It's quite true that linking does not create a derivative work.
However, it might be the case that a derivative work had already been
Only when you have legally obtained copies of a work are you entitled
to retain those copies.
Technical details (such as downloading the work in pieces, from different
sites, perhaps using bittorrent, or perhaps using ftp, or perhaps using
other protocols) don't make any more difference [either positively or
negatively] than linking does.
> Okay. This gets to the same result that I get to, which is that
> you can do all the things you want to do without permission from
> the copyright holder under first sale. Since this is not creating a
> derivative work, no special permission is needed.
Of course this doesn't apply when you got the copy from someone who
wasn't entitled to give it to you.
For example, if I'm distributing some program derived from a GPLed program
and I have no intention of providing source for the derived form, I'm
at fault, and depending on details you might or might not have a license
to the derivative I authored.
On the other hand, the GPL itself has an explicit exception for this case,
the GPLed content is legal for other people to use even if the person
distributing it had lost their copyright grant. But if we're talking
about linking and derived works, you could easily be using derived code
which is not GPLed. The GPL can't offer you any rights to that code,
because someone else owns the copyright.