Dispelling BSD License Misconceptions (fwd)

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Wed Jan 17 03:23:47 UTC 2007

Quoting Chuck Swiger (chuck at codefab.com):

> There are some people who feel that software licenses somehow  
> automatically apply their terms to any and all other software used in  
> conjunction with the original software in question (ie, as part of a  
> compilation, or via dynamic linking, or via pipelines, RPC, or other  
> form of network communication).  A canonical example is when people  
> claim that you can't dynamically link libreadline.so with software  
> under another license unless the other software is also under the GPL.
> [ My canonical response to such claims is to have them re-read the  
> section of the GPL between clause 2c & 3. ]

As Matthew points out, GPLv2's text (ditto any number of FSF FAQs)
utterly _lacks_ power to define what is and is not a derivative work,
that term of art's meaning being decided entirely by caselaw and judges.
You'd be much smarter to refer people to the text of the CAI v.  Altai
decision (in USA jurisdictions), rather than to GPL clause-anything.

The former's accessible via http://linuxmafia.com/kb/Licensing_and_Law/ ,
as it happens.  ;->

Cheers,      "Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first
Rick Moen     woman she meets, and then teams up with three complete strangers
rick at linuxmafia.com       to kill again."  -- Rick Polito's That TV Guy column,
              describing the movie _The Wizard of Oz_

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