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Re: using GPL api to be used in a properietary software

From: Stefaan A Eeckels
Subject: Re: using GPL api to be used in a properietary software
Date: Sat, 12 Mar 2005 23:45:31 +0100

On Sat, 12 Mar 2005 18:14:22 +0000
Rui Miguel Seabra <> wrote:

> On Sat, 2005-03-12 at 16:49 +0100, Stefaan A Eeckels wrote:
> > On Sat, 12 Mar 2005 15:05:04 +0100
> > Alexander Terekhov <> wrote:
> > 
> > > This is perfectly false in case of static linking as well. The 
> > > distiction between derivative works and compilations is not that
> > > hard to grasp. Statically linked executable is a mere aggregation 
> > > of a bunch of preexisting works. It is the same as an archive 
> > > containing same bunch of dynamically linked components.
> > 
> > FSF:                  the truth:              Terekov:
> > <---                      /|\                     --->
> In this case, I'd place Stefaan right just before Terekov.
> Terekov seems determined to undermine the idea of all users being Free.
> The FSF tries to empower all users with Freedom.
> If empowering with Freedom is as far from the truth as Terekov in such a
> scale, then you're just plain presumptuous.

Mind you, I'm _not_ talking about the moral issue here, but
about the probable (IANAL, and AFAIK, there hasn't been a
test case) legal status of binaries as derivative works.

I believe a case can be made that a statically linked binary,
through the fact that it contains, in a single unit not designed
as an archive, code from the program and the library(ies), is
a derivative work of them all. 

I also believe that a dynamically linked executable, which 
contains no code from the libraries it references, would not
be held to be a derivative work. 

It is also quite clear to anyone reading the American (USA)
copyright statutes that requiring a library, or anything,
to run is _not_ a criterion for a derivative work. I further
believe that pretending this is the case opens a can of 
worms better left shut. I'd like your opinion on that, BTW.

But as I have stated quite clearly and unambiguously, I do not
feel it's OK to ignore the wishes of the author or copyright
holder, even if these do not seem to be conform to the definitions
in the law. There's honour, and there's the law, and they
don't meet all that often.

> There's not a requirement for a middle ground at everything.

There are very few _requirements_ for a middle ground, don't
you agree? Most often though, when there are two extreme
viewpoints, the truth is somewhere in the middle.

And as I said, the status of a binary as a derivative work
is a legal issue, not a moral one (which you seem intent on
ignoring). Consider that, for once.

As complexity rises, precise statements lose meaning,
and meaningful statements lose precision. -- Lotfi Zadeh 

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