Bundling and the GPL
Posted Jun 21, 2006 17:26 UTC (Wed) by khim
In reply to: Bundling and the GPL
Parent article: Harald Welte on the flood of GPL violations
But copyright law doesn't apply to collections, only to derivitive works
Huh ? What are you smoking ? What is newspaper or magazine ? Right: it's collective work. There are some specific related to collective works like newspapers - but in general it's perfectly legal for the author to give permissin to use it's work only in some collections, but in other ("I give the permission to print my article in any newspaper if this newpasper is not publishing articles by person-I-totally-despise" is Ok).
If you want to talk about copyright - then try to understand at least something about it. If you want to publish collection of works (newspaper, for example) you must obtain permissions from all authors, sorry. GPL does just that: the only collection GPL allows are:
1. Composed only from GPL-compatible software or
2. Composed from GPL-compatible software and unrelated software (mere aggregation clause).
Linking and derived works are totally irrelevant here. What is relevant is "mere aggregation" clause - and it's very unclear clause from legal POV. It's perfectly clear that user-space programs which are using only POSIX API are in clear (Linus said so many times and there are even clarification in kernel's COPYING file), but what about programs who are poking around /proc or /sys ? What about kernel modules ? There are huge gray area... but that grey area is in no way related to "derived work - or not" question. "Derived work" question arises when you are distributing some proprietary program which uses readline library - but readline library is not included. If readline library is included then question about if it's derived work or not will not be even raised: it's collective work and as such it must comply with GPL as whole. The same is true for anything which is not "using kernel services by normal system calls" - i.e. kernel module. The only way to do it in this case is to demonstrate that it's "mere aggregation"... and it's kinda hard to do if we are talking about kernel module...
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