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

From: Martin Dickopp
Subject: Re: using GPL api to be used in a properietary software
Date: Mon, 14 Mar 2005 12:40:33 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.1007 (Gnus v5.10.7) Emacs/21.3 (gnu/linux)

David Kastrup <> writes:

> People are generously dealing in advice here even where the case law
> indicates that in reality things are much less clearcut than they want
> to make believe.  And that is simply reckless when giving advice.

To clarify, my aim here is to discuss questions which I find
interesting, not to give advice. Sorry that I haven't been clearer about

Anyway, my advice would usually be the following:

1. If you want to minimize the risk of being taken to court in the first
   place (usually the case for individuals), follow the letter of the
   license as well as the copyright holder's interpretation.

   (There is a case of the Debian project not distributing an MIT
   licensed program, because the copyright holder interprets the grant
   of "distribution and modification" rights as allowing either
   distribution or modification, but not distribution of modifications.)

2. If you want to do something which contradicts the copyright holder's
   interpretation, ask the copyright holder if s/he would be willing to
   license the work to you under different conditions.

3. If you need legal advice, consult a lawyer.

However, if it appears that somebody wants to do something which would
be harmful to the Free Software community and its goals, I prefer to
remain silent. I don't see it as my task to help people achieve
something which I consider unethical, even if it is lawful.


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