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Scope of Lout's license

From: David Kuehling
Subject: Scope of Lout's license
Date: 28 Jun 2004 11:38:37 +0200


I'm considering using Lout for a project which might in the end produce
a commercially printed book, and would like to ask about possible
problems with the GPL-licensing.

As parts of the Lout source code contain PostScript which is embedded
into files created by Lout, couldn't it be argued, that those output
files are then derived works of Lout and fall under the GPL?

Lout is not the only free software project with that kind of problem.
The GNU C compiler usually links compiled programs against certain
startup files (libgcc).  However, it contains an explicit disclaimer to
prevent the GPL from taking effect:

    In addition to the permissions in the GNU General Public License,
    the Free Software Foundation gives you unlimited permission to link
    the compiled version of this file into combinations with other
    programs, and to distribute those combinations without any
    restriction coming from the use of this file. [..]

Such a disclaimer seems to be missing in Lout, which presents some kind
of uncertainty.  Could a publisher refrain from printing a book which
seems to have that kind of unclear copyright status?


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