Re: GPL and linking
On 5/11/05, Michael K. Edwards <email@example.com> wrote:
> Fine. I have been goaded into rebutting this specimen.
Most of this is focused on contract law issues. I've written a
separate post suggesting the obvious alternative (Tort law)
> > Since Section 0 says that the GPL grants you license to distribute this work,
> > and since there's no part of the GPL that grants you license where Section 0
> > does not apply, in our hypothetical case we would have shown that the GPL
> > does not grant you license to distribute this work.
> Wrongo. The GPL grants you license to copy, modify, and distribute A
> under the applicable terms. Whether by "mere aggregation" or by
> reductio ad absurdum, you may distribute some collections containing
> A; and there is no basis in the text of the GPL for enforcing on the
> licensee any division into some permitted collections and some
> forbidden collections. So B may be distributed so long as the
> applicable covenants of specific performance with respect to A are
I'm assuming that we're talking about a case involving binaries for the
work A+B, which means we're talking about a case where either
1) The applicable terms are being followed, and B is available under
1a) B is merely aggregated with A in the context of these binaries, or
2) The applicable terms are not being followed, and B is not available
under GPL terms, and the work A+B is a significant work in the context
of copyright law.
> > At this point, either:
> > A) Copyright law doesn't apply, so it doesn't matter that you don't
> > have license, or
> > B) The GPL doesn't apply, so it doesn't matter that the GPL doesn't grant you
> > license, of
> > C) Distributing the work is prohibited by law.
> > My argument is that if you reach C) by ignoring the second half of the
> > definition of "work based on the Program", that you're doing something wrong.
> > Does that make sense?
Ok, I'm looking for how you think this doesn't make sense.
> Copyright law applies to the copying of A.
True. And to the copying of B. And, to the copying of A+B.
> The distributor of B claims license under the GPL to copy A.
This requires that B do so under certain terms, which is I think
where our dispute lies, but continuing...
> The court construes the terms of that license, settles all other
> relevant questions of fact, and either decides that the plaintiff
> is entitled to some relief or that he is not.
No disagreement here.
> It is then so ordered, and there's a path for appeals on
> points of law. "Prohibited by law" doesn't mean jack.
It's true that the court can (and will) interpret the law.
However, "Prohibited by law" does in fact have meaning.