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Re: Distriution of GPL incompatible libraries

On 1/27/06, Glenn L. McGrath <bug1@iinet.net.au> wrote:
> Hi all;
> This question doesn't directly relate to debian, but i hope you can
> help straighten me out with this.


> I'm trying to understand licensing obligations in regard to GPL'ed
> binaries that link to GPL incompatible libraries.

There are none. If you don't happen to live in the GNU Republic,
linking of computer programs (and libraries are computer programs)
isn't one of exclusive rights reserved to copyright owners and any
attempts to extract the rights to linked works which are separate and
independent computer program works under copyright law (google the AFC
test) and are merely linked to/from the GPL'd code constitutes misuse
of copyright. The penalty for copyright misuse – unenforceability of
the copyright in court until the misuse has been purged and its
effects no longer exist – is tantamount to losing the copyright.

Outside the GNU Republic there isn't such thing as "GPL incompatibility".

Ignore the FSF's FAQ.



consider the case of two scientific papers which reference each other.
The fact that paper B calls paper A (references it for support) does
not make B a derivative work of A. This remains true whether B and A
are published together in a symposium (analogous to static linkage) or
separately (analogous to dynamic linkage). Computer programs are
defined in 17 USC as literary works


Note also that exclusive distribution right is severely limited by
"first sale".

Finally, regarding ESR's statement "FSF has stated its willingness to
go to court for this position", don't believe it.


<quote copyright=Free Software Foundation>

Don't go to court

  FSF hasn't.
  Court is expensive
  Judges don't understand technology
    "Is static linking like two icons on one desktop?"
        -Judge Saris, MySQL v. Nusphere oral argument


Translation: the FSF doesn't really believe that they could fool a
judge into buying


[begin textual copying copyright=Free Software Foundation]

July 27, 2004 GPL Compliance for Software Developers Legal notes

Legal notes

Static linking creates a derivative work through textual copying

Most dynamic linking cases involve distributing the library

Still a derivative work:

Dynamic linking

Distributing only the executable (testtriangle)

Still a derivative work:

Distributing the source code of software which links to a library

[end textual copying]

FSF's "legal notes" idiocy.


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