Is inherited class a derivative work?

Michael Beck mbeck1 at
Wed Oct 24 09:55:13 UTC 2001

> -----Original Message-----
> From:  Ken Arromdee
> Sent: Monday, October 22, 2001 00:11

> When you derive a class, you're creating a copy of the
> original class *on your
> machine*.  That doesn't mean that if you write code that
> derives a class, and
> distribute the code, you're distributing copies of the
> original, modified
> or not.  It means that you're distributing instructions which
> tell other
> people how to modify copies they already have.

Ken, even if I don't distribute the original, this still could be a violation.
See Micro Star v. FormGen:

> You can't copy a house design, change it, and distribute it.
> But you *can*
> distribute a set of instructions which says "take this house
> design, reduce
> the size of room 3A by 5 feet in the east-west direction, and
> change the pipes
> to..."  Someone can get their own copy of the house design
> and apply those instructions.
> Telling someone how to make a derivative work isn't the same
> as distributing one.

That's a tricky one. I guess, in order to create this set of instructions, you
would have to make those changes yourself first to make sure that they are
right, and that they make sense (I assume that you didn't just use a dice to
come up with those numbers). Making those changes would probably qualify as
creating a derivative work, regardless how would you distribute them afterwards.

Now, is distributing a batch file with a patch making changes to an application
with the goal to change a password a violation? You don't change the file (the
user does by running the batch file), and you only distribute the instructions.
My guess is that it would be, but others might have better info or particular


license-discuss archive is at

More information about the License-discuss mailing list