Is inherited class a derivative work?

Michael Beck mbeck1 at
Wed Oct 24 09:47:21 UTC 2001

> -----Original Message-----
> From: angelo.schneider at

> Above is only ONE implementation lsited, and
> java.util.Dictionary is not
> abstract but the base class.

According to my knowledge, it is an abstract class. See:

> > So if you extends the original java.util.Dictionary, you
> are creating just
> > another implementation of it, one that has nothing to do
> with the listed above
> > other implementations. However, if you extend any of the
> above classes, you are
> > creating a derivative work from it, and have to follow its
> respective license.
> Nope: you are not creating derived work.
> Read up the copyright law.
> You are mixing up creating a "derived class" (which is
> somewhat similar
> to the GPL using the term "dreived") where it has nothing to do with
> "derived work" which is a term defined in copyright law.
> The example above is about: there exist hundreds of classes called
> "java.util.Dictionary".
> The sample above inherits from one of those(extend is similar to the :
> in c++ for inheritance), but you do not know from which as you do not
> know which the user has on his machine installed.

I agree that it makes it a little bit more difficult, but I would see it as two

- creation of a subclass
- using the subclass, i.e. linking it to a specific implementation of the
original class.

The issue is to establish if the derived class is a derivative work, and if yes,
if the creator had the permission to create one. I assume that if you derived a
class from a Kaffee implementation, they would give you the right to do so, but
this permission would be irrelevant for the finding itself if it is a derivative
work or not.

Then the user would be responsible for ensuring to use only those classes as the
base classes that allow inheritance.


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