Linking and the GPL

Angelo Schneider angelo.schneider at
Fri Oct 19 12:21:12 UTC 2001


email at wrote:

> so, besides any diatribes you feel like blabbering,
> can someone give a legal explanation why the following aren't true?
> 1) the GPL does not  prohibit linking
Wy should it?
If it would prohibit linking a lot of work published under GPL would be
useless, e.g. all libraries.

Basicly there are only two ways to "derive work" from a GPLed source.
1) Either you take the source as is and modify it -> derived work.
2) You write an addition and modify the original work to use your
additions -> derived work. (You have to link your stuff with the GPLed
stuff for that)
You write something new calling routiens from the GPLed work, that is
not derived work.
And link that new thing with the GPLed part yielding a second work
piece, which then is derived work.

> 2) linking would probably fall under fair use even if the GPL did prohibit it.

It only would if it was explicitly stated to be fair use in the relevant
part of copyright law.

All commerical sold libraries would then no longer be sell able, because
you can not establish a business model similar to the film or broadcast
industries (IMHO).

> Greg


Angelo Schneider         OOAD/UML         Angelo.Schneider at
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