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Re: LGPL module linked with a GPL lib

** Jeff Licquia ::

> On Wed, 2005-07-27 at 10:05 -0300, Humberto Massa Guimarães wrote:
> > First of all, Debian GNU/Linux is *NOT* a derivative work of
> > OpenSSL, GStreamer, nor any of its plugins. A derivative work
> > has a definition in the statute (in the US case, 17USC).
> Hmm.  I suppose this is part and parcel of the move in the USA to
> copyright "compilations" or "databases"?  I suppose I had never
> thought of it that way.

Derivative works are those that result of a (non-automatable,
intelligent, intellectually novel) _transformation_ of a work.

Compilation works are those that are composed of other works, in
which the intellectual novelty resides in the selection and
arrangement of contents.

Debian, as a whole, is a compilation works on its packages.

> > Yes. There is no derivative work status on the program that uses
> > a library. I and M.K.Edwards, in the last 3 months or so, have
> > brought a lot of arguments and case law to this extent to d-l,
> > and my own and humble conclusion is that: especially in the case
> > of dynamic linking (and more so in the case of dlopen()ing), the
> > distribution by debian of both a program A and a linking-to-A
> > B.so is subject only to the *separate* compliance to the terms
> > of both A and B.so, independently of any terms applied only to
> > derivative works of A or of B.so.
> Mr. Edwards, elsewhere, refers to the GFingerPoken thread, which I
> had followed.  There may be other threads I did not follow, and I
> will look for them.
> I confess to not seeing how the manner of linking makes a
> difference from a copyright point of view.  Static linking creates
> a derived work, in that the resulting binary contains the library,

Static linking can *not* create a derived work, because it is an
automatic process. Poster case: is hello, generated from hello.c:

  #include <stdio.h>
  int main(int argc, char** argv) {
    return 0;

a derivative work of something it's (statically) linked to?
The answer is no, because derivative works, as intelligent
transformations, can only appear when you *create* a work.

If I translate "Helter Skelter" to Portuguese -- not by babelfish --
then I am doing a derivative work. When I write the above hello.c,

> much as how a motion picture film contains its soundtrack.  To me,
> splitting the soundtrack off a movie, and creating a machine to
> recombine them afterwards, does not cease to make the movie an
> infringement on the soundtrack's copyright, which is equivalent to
> the dynamic linking process.  Is such a scheme really effective
> from a legal standpoint in avoiding copyright liability?

No, because you can't change the soundtrack of a film without
changing the final result. OTOH, you can substitute (almost always)
glibc for dietlibc in a program and have the same result. Such
program does not *depend* on glibc for being what it is, and most
certainly is *not* the result of a transformation applied over

Anyway, the person who "recombines" the "film" and "track", in the
case of dynamic linking, is the *USER*, in the process of using the
program, and copyrights protection do not apply at that moment, as
per 17USC.

> > I do not have enough time right now to answer properly (ie, with
> > the links to the discussions, examples, and caselaw that I,
> > amongst others, presented here on d-l), but I trust that you can
> > find them if you are interested.
> > 
> > As I said two paragraphs above, I consider that I presented all
> > my arguments in this direction, and (to me, at least) I consider
> > my point proven.
> That's great.  Other people with legal expertese (the FSF legal
> team, for example) have done the same, and have come to entirely
> different conclusions.  Others with legal expertese commented, as
> I recall, on the KDE/Qt controversy back in the day, too, and I
> don't recall seeing any argument against it that wasn't based on
> emotion or wishful thinking ("the KDE and Qt people are good
> people, they wouldn't sue anyone").
> I am not a lawyer, and thus am forced to accept arguments from
> authority (and regurgitate them when necessary, as was the case in
> this thread).  It seems clear in my interaction with you that my
> understanding of the copyright process is hopelessly inadequate
> for evaluating these arguments; there always seems to be some
> exception to the general rule that people can throw at any
> position people can take.
> And, it seems to me, that in the authority face-off, you lose.
> I've never heard of you outside this forum.  Mr. Edwards has
> already admitted to a lack of formal legal training.  The GPL, on
> the other hand, has a law professor and a team of lawyers behind
> it, as do other groups promoting free software and open source,
> and their efforts at enforcing their view of the world have been
> quite successful to date.  Are you seriously telling me that these
> people don't know what they're talking about regarding the law,
> and that you do?  On what basis can you make such an extraordinary
> claim?
> Now, the standard answer when confronted with such a quandary is
> "go hire your own lawyer".  Which is a great idea, if you have
> hundreds of dollars to throw away.  If I wanted to throw money at
> legal crap, I would have stayed in the Windows world.
> So, you will forgive me, I hope, for continued skepticism.  You
> may be right, and the entire free software community may be wrong,
> about the way things work.  But I'm betting not.

Well, your argument makes a lot of sense, for I am just an
ex-paralegal, and you are completely forgiven.

I think, in hindsight, that Debian (in the Qt/KDE case) fell for
arguments that are not sound, nor based on the law, even if they
were presented as such.

In the case of Debian, the project *does* have the dollars needed to
consult a copyrights lawyer that does not have a conflict of
interests, and to obtain from him/her a detailed legal analysis. I
think it's time to do that, because of all the different
interactions between our 14000+ packages.


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