restrictions on web service linking?

Matthew Flaschen matthew.flaschen at
Tue Nov 21 21:11:57 UTC 2006

Arnoud Engelfriet wrote:
> What OSD 9 tries to do is draw a line between derivative works
> and "other works". A license can put restrictions on derivatives
> but not on those "other works".

I agree completely here.  Based on the rationale ("Yes, the GPL is
conformant with this requirement. [...]") and the fact that the GPL was
around before the OSD, I think OSD 9 is meant to stop about where the
GPL does.  Where then, does the GPL stop (in restricting third-party
software)?  It could be clearer but again the sentence "Thus, it is not
the intent of this section to claim rights or contest your rights to
work written entirely by you" essentially means non-derivative works can
be distributed alongside the GPL under proprietary/incompatible licenses.

Clark, you're right in saying no one knows for sure whether dynamic
linking forms a derivative work (it probably depends, and courts will
probably eventually clarify this).  I think OSD 9 allows the GPL
regardless; it does this by allowing any derivative (single) works to be

Thus, the GPL complies with OSD 9 because it does not attempt to
restrict software that clearly doesn't form a derivative work.  The
Depend clause does attempt to restrict such non-derivative software, and
so is non-compliant.  Clark asked for a judge to decide whether "a
derivative work form when a connection is made between two systems such
that one simply cannot operate without the other" but I believe it is
already overwhelmingly clear that this relationship is insufficient.  A
few months ago, I tested a scripting API in which plain text commands
(like makePoint 3 5 6 Blue) were sent over a TCP/IP socket (usually
locally).  Some of the clients would be useless if the server program
was unavailable.  However, as Arnoud stated, none of the creative work
(code) is shared between the client and server; thus there can no
copyright derivation.  That is partially why OSD #9 exists, and why I
still think we have to reject this clause.

Matthew Flaschen

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