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Re: GPL Question

From: rjack
Subject: Re: GPL Question
Date: Wed, 12 Dec 2007 14:57:49 -0500
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20071031)

Ryan wrote:
Ummm, anyone want to address my question?

On Wed, 2007-12-12 at 07:39 +0000, Ryan wrote:
I'm not sure this is the place to be asking this, so please redirect me
if necessary.

I'm working on a payment-routing server (, and I'd
like to release it under a license that obliges those who build services
on it to also release the source for those services.  Applications built
on top of would essentially be accounting systems that interact with the
server over a socket (likely using HTTP), but that interaction is quite
complex, requiring several different types of callbacks to the
accounting system.
Would the Affero GPL work for me?  Would an application on top of my
server be considered a "single system" with that server for the purposes
of the GPL?
What if there was, or could theoretically be, another server like mine
that uses the same API, so the application could plug in a different
server?  Is this important, or is the fact that someone *is* using my
server tightly integrated with their application the relevant fact?

A similar example to consider might be if I was releasing a database
server under the AGPL.  If someone used it in their web app, would they
be obliged to release their app source under the [A]GPL as well?  Would
it matter if my db server or its interface was generic or


Ummm, anyone want to address my question?

Your question does not concern computer programming. Your question is a legal question. The number of sovereigns in the World is approaching 200 -- each with its own idea of intellectual property laws and regulations. Many countries pay lip service to the Berne Convention and then jealously guard their own interpretation of licensing law. The short answer to your question is there exits no satisfactory "international" answer to a licensing question such as yours.

If you're into the "copyleft" thing ask the people at the Free Sofware Foundation -- it'll be legal gibberish -- but feel free to ask them anyway.


--- "Although the United States Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. ยงยง 101- 1332,
grants exclusive jurisdiction for infringement claims to the federal
courts, those courts construe copyrights as contracts and turn to the
relevant state law to interpret them."; Automation by Design, Inc. v.
Raybestos Products Co., 463 F.3d 749, (United States Court of Appeals
for the Seventh Circuit 2006) ---

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