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Re: "Adobe Open Source License" GPL compatible?

From: Isaac
Subject: Re: "Adobe Open Source License" GPL compatible?
Date: Fri, 22 Apr 2005 21:46:36 -0500
User-agent: slrn/ (Linux)

On Thu, 21 Apr 2005 11:23:33 +0200, David Kastrup <> wrote:
> Alexander Terekhov <> writes:
>> Tim Smith wrote:
>>> In article <>, Alexander Terekhov wrote:
>>> > My answer is below it. As far as the GPL is concerned, everything is
>>> > compatible with it. It might not be so under jursidiction of the GNU
>>> > Republic (where only Mr President Stallman knows and rules what is
>>> > "compatible"), but who cares?
>>> This makes no sense.  If I have some GPL'ed code and some code under license
>>> Foo, and I can combine them in a program in such a way that I can satisfy
>>> they terms of both GPL and Foo, then it makes sense to say they are
>>> compatible.  If I cannot do so, then it makes sense to say they are
>>> incompatible.
>> First sale aside for a moment, GPL is a bare copyright license. When
>> you merely "combine" works, you create compilations, not derivative
>> works. The former is also known as "mere aggregation." Got it now?
> Linking code always is a derivative work of the individual parts, and
> rarely a "compilation" in the legal sense.  The question relevant to
> the courts is whether the parts of the whole can be considered
> reasonably independent.  It is one criterion for a compilation in the
> legal sense of the word that all parts make independent sense outside
> of the compilation.

No that is not the way to tell if something is a compilation or a
derivative work.  Your description while logical is not based on
any authoritative statement of the law I'm familiar with.  

Ironically a fairly good comparison of what a compilation and a
derivative work are based on House Report 94-1476 that appears as
annotation to the code was posted by Mr. Terekhov very recently.  I 
don't agree with his conclusions involving first sale, but he seems 
to be on solid ground with respect to the difference between a compilations 
versus derivative works.

The short of it is that a derivative requires a process of recasting,
transforming or adapting a pre-existing work.  If no such process is
present, then your combination is some form of compilation such
as a collective work and not a derivative work.  Whether or not the parts 
are or are not reasonably independent, are or are not useful on their own, 
or are are are not useful with some other base work does not distinguish
a compilation from a derivative work.

Of course a compilation does not necessarily correspond to "mere aggregation"
as described in the GPL, so the rest of Mr. T's argument may also be
on shakey ground.


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