chris at metatrontech.com
Tue Feb 1 19:13:57 UTC 2011
On Fri, Jan 28, 2011 at 2:00 PM, David Woolley
<forums at david-woolley.me.uk> wrote:
> Chris Travers wrote:
>> As an addition, if there are GPL'd dependencies you want to use, you'd
>> probably get further talking to those projects in terms of what they
>> expect than you will on this list. Many different projects interpret
>> these licenses in subtly different ways (see the differences in how
>> Linus and RMS treat the GPL v2), and where there are concerns, talking
>> to the copyright holders can be quite helpful. It can also ensure
>> fewer problems later.
> They will generally relax the licence only if there is an overriding good,
> e.g. if there is no realistic way of an open competing product being
> produced and there is real perceived benefit to the world in the
My point is, if you talk to those other projects involved and explain
the situation, you can get a better idea whether those projects
consider it to be a problem. There is a surprising amount of gray
area in interpretations around the periphery regarding the GPL (any
version) and it avoids problems to talk. It's better not to go to
court than to go to court and win anyway. If you are in contact with
anyone who could cause you problems and they give you their blessing,
IANAL but this seems pretty common sense to me.
Unfortunately technical conversations don't necessarily tell us what
to expect regarding protections for expressive elements (though I
recognize that in the UK, unlike the US, copyright extends beyond
expressive elements to things like databases and telephone
directories, and so could arguably include things API usage that would
probably get no protection in the US).
> The other risk area with such an arrangement, is that it is possible
> that one couldn't create an interface specification for the wrapper that
> wasn't a derivative work of that of the library. That gets into more borderline areas.
But such an interpretation of derivative works would allow Microsoft
to say "OpenOffice for Windows is a derivative work of Windows and we
don't give permission for it to be distributed." I recognize that the
GPL doesn't draw this line, but the fact that it explicitly exempts
such things makes that a matter solely of the license and not of
copyright law in general. Does anyone really think that Microsoft
could prevail on such a claim though? Does anyone (aside from the FSF
perhaps) want Microsoft to have that option?
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