Re: Linux GPL and binary module exception clause?
From: Paul Adams
Date: Thu Dec 04 2003 - 18:51:55 EST
--- In linux-kernel@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, Linus Torvalds
> - anything that was written with Linux in mind
(whether it then
> _also_ works on other operating systems or not) is
> partially a derived work.
I am no more a lawyer than you are, but I have to
are not free to define "derivative work" as you
must use accepted legal definitions. At least in the
must consider what Congress had to say on this. They
constitute a violation of section 106(2) [which gives
owners rights over derivative works], the infringing
incorporate a portion of the copyrighted work in some
example, a detailed commentary on a work or a
composition inspired by a novel would not normally
infringements under this clause."
A work that is inspired by Linux is no more a
derivative work than
a programmatic musical composition inspired by a
Linux in mind cannot be enough to constitute
Remember also that U.S. copyright law states:
"In no case does copyright protection for an original
authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process,
of operation, concept, principle, or discovery,
the form in which it is described, explained,
embodied in such work."
Thus you cannot claim infringement because a work
ideas or methods of operation with Linux.
The standard used in U.S. courts for determining if
violates a copyright includes a filtering procedure to
unprotected aspects as described above. A standard
filter is that
you eliminate an element if "The element's expression
by external factors, such as using an existing file
interoperating with another program." Computer
Altai specifically discusses the need to filter
to "compatibility requirements of other programs with
program is designed to operate in conjunction."
Code needed to interoperate with the Linux kernel thus
considered as a factor in determining if the Linux
Unless actual Linux code is incorporated in a binary
in some form, I don't see how you can claim
infringement of the
copyright on Linux code, at least in the U.S.
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