A prototype License Wizard up and running

Alex Bligh alex at alex.org.uk
Sat Apr 9 17:20:10 UTC 2005

--On 08 April 2005 22:57 -0700 Lawrence Rosen <lrosen at rosenlaw.com> wrote:

> As I tried to say in my book (reference chapter above), I do not believe
> that linking to a library in the way that the library was designed
> creates a derivative work of that library. I do not believe the GPL or
> LGPL -- or any other licenses that leave that point ambiguous or that
> rely on the Copyright Act definition of "derivative work" -- will be
> interpreted by the courts in such a draconian manner.

Whilst this is true, I think it's only half the argument. What a court
would or would not construe is a question most people do not want to
find themselves at the sharp end of having answered for them.

IE, as per the original thread, there is the question of license selection.

I predict most people (well, certainly most companies with prudent legal
departments who have foreknowledge of the situation) would not Distribute a
work that is not licensed under the GPL that linked a GPL library, then
fail to withdraw or GPL license it when this was pointed out.

Similarly, most prudent software authors would not produce a library and
distribute under the GPL if it was intended to be lawfully linked to
software not licensed under the GPL. They'd use the LGPL, or some
other license.

IE whilst there is an open question of interpretation, people are
going to be prudent.

I think you make this point elsewhere where you say licenses should
be unambiguous - the GPL currently isn't. That ambiguity in practice
militates for people taking notice of the FSF's interpretation.


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