[License-discuss] GPL and non-GPL binaries in one distribution

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Jan 12 22:21:01 UTC 2012

Quoting Henrik Ingo (henrik.ingo at avoinelama.fi):

> This is an important point, yes. Otoh the GPL is the same license for
> everyone that uses it. At least in an ideal world it cannot apply in
> one way to your software and another to mine, since it is the same
> text.

Yes.  However, in any copyright law case, the relevant question 
is what the _licensor's_ terms (rights and obligations) are, within the
context of surrounding law.  The judge will look first to the wording of
a written licence.  If there is still some ambiguity about what licensor
intended, the judge might consider surrounding details of what
_licensor_ said and did.

The judge is not going to ask a third party, FSF, what it thinks, as
that is simply not in the picture.  Thus my point.

> Lacking more legal precedent (on this particular topic) we can
> only guess what the real answer is....

There is plenty of legal precedent for what 'derivative work' does and
does not mean.  In my experience, it is highly useful to read it and
learn to think like a judge.

Software people seem determined to fixate on irrelevant criteria in this
matter.  But I'm not going to keep reiterating my point.

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