GPL and linking
Posted Feb 16, 2006 5:50 UTC (Thu) by proski
Parent article: On the dual-license model
I wonder if the GPL linking clause has ever been tested in court. Although GPLv2 says in the last paragraph that it "does not permit incorporating your program into proprietary programs", this paragraph is located in an appendix, after the "terms and conditions" part. Also consider that GPL positions itself as a license, not as a contract, and you may wonder how the linking clause can have any effect on other works, unless there is a clear precedent establishing that linking to a library always creates a derived work of the said library.
I see that serious money is changing hands in the assumption that GPLed libraries can dictate the license to the software linked to them. I'm sure Oracle has lots of lawyers that looked into that issue. Can we consider the latest Oracle investments as a confirmation that the linking clause in GPLv2 would likely hold in the court of law?
As for the Sleepycat license, it doesn't say anything about linking at all, but I think the same rules should apply to it.
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