GPL and linking
Posted Feb 23, 2006 16:50 UTC (Thu) by giraffedata
In reply to: GPL and linking
Parent article: On the dual-license model
I don't think either precedent or intent help us here.
Several postings here say there is no precedent at all for the linking question. I.e. no authority has ever ruled on it. If you know of a precedent, please post it.
As for intent, I think it's pretty clear that the intent of a person who distributed object-code-only code that links to GPL code was to link and still not violate copyright. The intent of the guy who licensed the GPL code to him may have been for him not to link, but why is his intent more important?
In criminal law, intent of the perpetrator is important because we don't punish people for innocent actions. In contract law, the intent of the parties is relevant to the extent that all parties have the same intent. In ambiguous statutes, the intent of the legislature is sometimes called in to disambiguate. But I don't see any room for intent in deciding whether I have permission from Linus to distribute his kernel code along with an object-code-only program that links to it. It's the permission he actually gave, not what he intended to give, that matters.
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