Linking restrictions and shared libraries

kmself at kmself at
Mon Mar 12 23:04:56 UTC 2001

on Mon, Mar 12, 2001 at 10:56:38AM -0500, Rod Dixon, J.D., LL.M. (rod at wrote:
> Section 117
> Section 117(a) of the Copyright Act, seems applicable. It limits the right


> (a) Making of Additional Copy or Adaptation by Owner of
> Copy.-Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106, it is not an
> infringement for the owner of a copy of a computer program to make or
> authorize the making of another copy or adaptation of that computer program
> provided:
> (1) that such a new copy or adaptation is created as an essential step in
> the utilization of the computer program in conjunction with a machine and
> that it is used in no other manner, or
> (2) that such new copy or adaptation is for archival purposes only and that
> all archival copies are destroyed in the event that continued possession of
> the computer program should cease to be rightful.

Which argues that the runtime linking of a GPLd program with non-GPLd
(or otherwise incompatible) libraries is allowed by the _owner_ of a
copy of a computer program (need I mention Mai v. Peak?) for purposes of
executing the program.

However, one of the exclusive rights under 106 is:

    2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work;   

So I'd ask the question as to what the legal status of the person who
distributes a GPLd work which _requires_ runtime linking with
incompatibly licensed libraries.  Is this a peparation of "derivative
works based upon the copyrighted work"?

Infringement is defined under 105 as "anyone who violates any of the
exclusive rights of the copyright owner as provided by sections 106
through 121, or of the author as provided in section 106A(a)...".  Is
there ammunition here to proscribe runtime linking?

Karsten M. Self <kmself at>
 What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?       There is no K5 cabal
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