[License-discuss] GPL and proprietary WebAPIs
Clark C. Evans
cce at clarkevans.com
Fri Dec 23 17:20:56 UTC 2011
My question is rather straight-forward. Does the GPLv3
permit the distribution of derived works that require
an independent and non-free work for its operation .
I was under the impression that the Corresponding Source
("all the source code needed to... run the object code")
and 5c ("the whole of the work, and all its parts,
regardless of how they are packaged") would effectively
prevent this sort of distribution. However, this seems
not to be the case.
If so, and this seems to be the consensus I'm hearing,
then I think the GPLv3 is ineffective; more of a nuance
than effectively protecting the free commons. Since,
if I wish to distribute an extension of GPL'd work,
all I have to do is factor out the critical parts of
the my work and make them available as an independent
and proprietary web service.
On Fri, Dec 23, 2011, at 03:52 AM, Rick Moen wrote:
> I doubt very much that the recent queries here qualify as
> that variety of public service.
You are being unnecessarily argumentative. I'm
trying to find an appropriate licensing strategy
for our company, and I'm expressly trying to prevent
and understand the sort of shims that seem to be
standard industry practice. If our work can't be
protected from these "creative circumventions" by
the GPL, then we probably won't use this license.
It's my position that if you wish to create a derived
work that incorporates proprietary functionality,
you should also provide an equivalent implementation
under a compatible license. The style of linking
and the question if the combined work is also derived
from the proprietary work are largely irrelevant in
my estimation. Yet, these two considerations keep
emerging as if they are limitations of the GPL.
Part of this problem is legal, but the other part
is what the community accepts as being acceptable
and that depends upon the public opinion of legal
and technical professionals on this list.
 For purposes of this question, you can consider the
dependency to be declared as part of the derived work,
but resolved at runtime via sockets or WebAPI; also
assume that the derived work is *not* a modification
or transformation of the independent, non-free work.
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