Combining GPL and non-GPL code

Wilson, Andrew andrew.wilson at
Thu Aug 2 21:17:48 UTC 2007

John Cowan wrote: 

> Let's consider a hypo in a different domain.  I get a book with
> the ordinary copyright license: All Rights Reserved, specifically
> copying is forbidden.  However, one of the book's chapters is in fact a
> verbatim article published by the ACM, with the standard ACM copyright
> notice intact:
>	Copyright© 20XX by the Association for Computing Machinery,
>	Inc. Permission to make digital or hard copies of part of this
>     ....
> Do you argue that I must not (not should not pragmatically, but must not)
> exercise the rights granted there with respect to that part of the book,
> and make a copy of it on a copier machine for personal use etc. etc.?
> Is this "stripping" the book publisher's global copyright notice, or is it
> just recognizing that the article continues to have its permissive license
> even when it's part of the book?

This one's actually pretty easy.  The book publisher has an anthology
copyright on the compilation.  You can still make fair use
of individual articles.  However, the creator of the derivative
program we were discussing in the GPL scenario, which is itself a
work of authorship in that it combines GPL and BSD code 
to form a new expression, has a no-adjective
copyright in the new expression, not an anthology copyright.
I don't see the argument that you can reach into a copyrighted
work and extract subsections without following the copyrighted work's license.
Again, in the GPL hypo, the only license you have from the
creator of the derivative and from any subsequent distributors is GPL.


Andy Wilson
Intel open source technology center

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