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Dividing the Linux desktop
LWN.net Weekly Edition for June 13, 2013
A report from pgCon 2013
Little things that matter in language design
The "derivative work" bit is what allows copyright law to apply: unless
the distributed work is derivative from the GPL'ed work, the GPL doesn't
have scope under law to restrict its distribution.
RTS and the GPL
Posted Nov 16, 2012 11:01 UTC (Fri) by pboddie (subscriber, #50784)
However, I suppose I should have been clearer: the derived/derivative terminology, whether used in the law or not, often takes on a life of its own as people define those things according to what their own intuition tells them and then use those definitions to evaluate licensing-related claims, despite the fact that they now might be referencing distinct concepts altogether.
This is why GPLv3 doesn't use such terms at all, but instead, when referencing works used together with a licensed work (section 5), mentions such works as being "combined with it such as to form a larger program". I suppose this makes the intent much clearer (as intended when the licence was drafted) and independent of any particular legal venue.
Posted Nov 16, 2012 16:21 UTC (Fri) by Jonno (subscriber, #49613)
Not quite. If the "larger program" does not meet whatever the local legal definition of a derivative work (or equivalent in the local law) is, it doesn't matter what the GPL say, because you don't need the license to distribute it.
Posted Nov 16, 2012 17:33 UTC (Fri) by gmaxwell (subscriber, #30048)
Posted Nov 17, 2012 22:12 UTC (Sat) by man_ls (subscriber, #15091)
If NVIDIA is distributing a derivative of my work they need a license, regardless if they have created it or not. It is just like creating an original story featuring Mickey Mouse; it will probably be seen as a derivative of Disney's work and, under the perpetual regime, need a license from Disney. Or a translation to a different language -- again, the text is completely written by another person, but it is based on another text so it is a derivative. And there is a creative element in a translation -- witness how bad translations can butcher an original.
I don't think there is enough case law in software to clarify all the possibilities -- for example, is translating to a different language a derivative work? So unless it is a clear cut case (i.e. literal copy of a significant portion of non-functional code written by someone else integrated into a commercial product) then a judge would need to discern if the result of something is a derivative work or not, and then it would involve the "local legal definition".
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