Is inherited class a derivative work?

Rob Myers robmyers at
Wed Oct 24 14:01:28 UTC 2001


on 24/10/01 2:07 pm, Michael Beck at mbeck1 at wrote:

> That doesn't matter. The issue is legal, i.e. does the author holds the right
> to future releases of the grid, or can anyone develop new versions of the grid
> by using inheritance?

There is no way that they can do this without distributing the binary of
your class or requiring that people buy the binary from you.
The former is a simple copyright breach. The issue of legally-deriving the
work does not need to be decided, as there are clear precedents for breach
of copyright.
For the latter to be a problem (assuming you don't prohibit it in the
license or just not export the symbols from the DLL), we assume that new
versions of the grid developed using inheritance in and of themselves would
be legally-derived works. So let's look at the evidence for this:

> In FormGen the court decided for FormGen:
> "Finally, by selling N/I, Micro Star "impinged on [FormGen's ] ability to
> market
> new versions of the story." Stewart, 495 U.S. at 238; see also Twin Peaks
> Productions, Inc. v. Publications Int'l, Ltd., 996 F.2d 1366, 1377 (2d Cir.
> 1993). Only FormGen has the right to enter that market; whether it chooses to
> do
> so is entirely its business. "

This has nothing to do with pure inheritance. If I subclass your grid class
to make a fully functional class that makes no calls to your class's code
and refers to no symbols in it (possibly other than its class name. This is
theoretical, so there are no constructor calls or shared data structures)
and don't distribute it I am still raising the issue of whether I have
created a legally-derived work or not. I cannot do the same (refer to the
file but not reference the media and not display the media) for a Duke Nukem
sequel as I will have nothing to show.

- Rob.

Rob Myers 
"Smash global capitalism. Spend less money."

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