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Re: License issues with md5deep

Julian Andres Klode <jak@jak-linux.org> writes:
> Giovanni Mascellani wrote:

>> This file is surely GPL and not in the public domain. Isn't illegal to
>> link GPL object code with other non-GPL object code and don't
>> distribute it as GPL? In other words, because of only this GPL file,
>> all the package should be GPL licensed, isn't it?

> I think, it's a GPL violation. The problem is that you cannot relicense
> the public domain parts under the GPL, because they can not be
> copyrighted.

No, not at all.  The only requirement of the GPL is that the work as a
whole be covered by the GPL, which means that you have to be able to
create a combined derivative work licensed under the GPL.  Since public
domain puts no restrictions whatsoever on what you do with licenses, it's
quite safe to combine GPL code with public domain code into one work,
which as a whole is then covered by the GPL.  The individual public domain
pieces continue to be in the public domain if extracted and used

>> The README says:
>> This program is a work of the US Government. In accordance with 17 USC
>> 105, copyright protection is not available for any work of the US
>> Government.  Lawyer to English translation: This program is PUBLIC
>> DOMAIN.  Not only is this program not copyrighted, but IT CANNOT BE

This is sort of true and sort of not.  That code itself is not covered by
copyright, but any derivative work that you create from it is still
covered by your copyright.  And that's fine.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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