WordPress, themes, and derivative works
Posted Jul 28, 2010 22:08 UTC (Wed) by anselm
In reply to: WordPress, themes, and derivative works
Parent article: WordPress, themes, and derivative works
According to copyright law, only the copyright holder of a library (proprietary or free) is entitled to distribute the library code, so in the »proprietary case« the application author must pay the copyright holder a run-time fee to be allowed to pass a copy of the library along with their application. In this case, the question of whether the application is a »derivative work« of the library or not is immaterial, since the fee serves to compensate the (library) copyright holder for letting someone else (the application author) do something which would otherwise be the copyright holder's prerogative, namely making and distributing copies of the proprietary library.
The derivative-work issue only becomes a problem with the GPL, where there is already blanket permission in the license to pass copies of a library along with an application (albeit with strings attached concerning licensing and publication of source code, etc.). The question here is what combining an application with a GPLed library does to the licensing options for that application, not how the library copyright owner is to be compensated for the use of their actual code, which is what the run-time fees are about. I am not a lawyer in any way, shape, or form but would venture to guess that the legal theory covering this (such as there exists) is completely different from that dealing with run-time fees for libraries.
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