Posted Mar 30, 2009 15:54 UTC (Mon) by butlerm
In reply to: It's so obvious it's not even funny
Parent article: OSBC: Life at the edge of the GPL
I should clarify what I meant to say here. Of course distribution of a
"mere aggregation" on the same medium creates a derivative work in the form
of the aggregate or collection. What it doesn't do is make the elements of
the whole derivatives of eachother.
So the copyright holders of a software module can control how, where, and
when that module is distributed, and in particular what other works it can
be inseparably distributed with (e.g. on the same CD). That is well
established. References to such collective works can be found in federal
However, publishing a collection of stories most certainly does not, in and
of itself, make each of the stories derivative works of each other.
Suppose you statically linked proprietary code into an open source program,
or open source code into a proprietary program. That certainly makes the
whole a derivative work, but it certainly does not make, in and of itself,
the components derivatives of eachother. That was SCO's rather ridiculous
theory - i.e. that e.g. Linux JFS was a derivative work of a proprietary
Unix because it some point in its history its predecessors had been linked
to proprietary code.
So my point is (barring some bizarre judicial invention) a derivative work
(logically at least) has to be "substantially similar" in some inclusive
way to the work it is "based upon". "Access and substantial
similarity" sounds like a good rule of thumb to me, as long as an exception
is made for purely functional interfaces at the boundaries.
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