Re: Linux GPL and binary module exception clause?

From: Erik Andersen
Date: Fri Dec 05 2003 - 00:01:46 EST

On Thu Dec 04, 2003 at 05:58:38PM -0800, David Schwartz wrote:
> There you go, *ONCE* *LOADED* it becomes an integral part. So
> it's the *use* of it that makes it integral. Disitribution is
> prior to use.

Steven Spielberg doesn't care what you do to his movies in the
privacy of your own home. You can use them as a room dividers
for your hamsters if you want for all he cares. But if you try
modifying his movies, i.e. to remove the sex, nudity, and
violence and then distribute them, you will join Clean Flicks in
court [1].

Or maybe you feel like making a Harry Potter knockoff. Go ahead
and write whatever you want in the privacy of your own home. If
you dare to try distributing such a knock off novel, you will shortly
find Time-Warner sending a herd of lawyers your direction [2].

Similarly, nobody cares what kernel modules you feel like making
and loading in the privacy of your own home.

> So long as it must be mixed with the original work (and isn't
> already), it's not clear that it's a derived work as it sits.
> Again, otherwise any program that used 'malloc' would be a
> derived work of any implementation of 'malloc'.

The act of compiling a program and linking that program with a
library certainly does create a derivitive work of that library.
Try linking your program with the 30-day evaluation version of
Intel's Math Kernel Library and distributing the result without
paying them for a license. Try using Qt in a non-GPL closed
source product without paying Trolltech. Try using MS Visual
Studio to create and distribute your own competing compiler.
Guess how fast you would have herds of lawyers visiting to
discuss your opinions of what is and is not a derived work?



Erik B. Andersen
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