RTS and the GPL
Posted Nov 17, 2012 22:12 UTC (Sat) by man_ls
In reply to: RTS and the GPL
Parent article: RTS and the GPL
But if I am not distributing your work directly, then either what I am distributing is a derivative of your work or I don't need a valid license. As in, anything that is not an exact copy of your binary; it might be a portion, an adaptation, a heavily modified version, a library, a single source code file or whatever. If under copyright law the distributed work is not a derivative (e.g. I only copied a functional interface) then I don't need a license; otherwise I do. And then there is also fair use, which makes more of a grey area the cases where I am only citing certain small portions.
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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