Derivative works vs Compilation works
Posted Feb 16, 2006 11:16 UTC (Thu) by hummassa
In reply to: GPL and linking
Parent article: On the dual-license model
What defines derivative work on many jurisdictions is not the presence of
a work inside another, but the process of a transformation that made the
first work become the second one.
Classical example of derivative works: translations. You get Harry Potter
and the Goblet of Fire and re-write it in Kadiweu. The original book is
transformed until you get the derivative work.
The right to *make* (not only distribute, but *make*) derivative work is
one of the monopolized rights by the copyright owner, and it can be
granted to a third party under any terms the copyright owner deems fit.
Like: "yes, you can make a derivative work of my book if you sacrifice
your firstborn under the blue moon".
Other example: fanfics. When you get the body of work of Star Trek, for
instance, and transform it, making another story that re-uses the
characters and mise-en-scene, you are transforming a body of work into a
new body of work (the Trek universe containing your story). Many
publishers close their eyes to fanfics that are made not-for-profit, but
don't try to publish a Trek book without Paramount's permission!
Ah, and once you have the permission to make the the derivative works --
albeit the copyright of your work is Yours -- you still have to follow any
dispositions by the original work's copyright owner about its
distribution, etc. (THAT is how the GPL works)
Now, the act of distributing a number of copyrighted works in a collection
or compilation has completely different implications. For example, when
you distribute a compilation work, you must still abide to the licensing
terms of each individual work, but you are not the copyright owner of the
compilation -- you are the owner of the abstract "selection and ordering"
that you have defined to compile the works.
All in all, your program being functionally dependent on mysql or not does
not define a derivative work (the principles of abstraction, filtration
and comparison would weed out -- in principle [this can be held not true
for some special cases] -- the derivation), and IMHO, any aggregation is
"mere", independently of functional dependence -- this, because, legally,
the set of "your work + mysql" is just a compilation work.
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