[License-discuss] Is Web application including GPL libraries covered under GPL?

Grahame Grieve grahame at healthintersections.com.au
Wed May 15 22:29:57 UTC 2013

hi Rick

Everything you say is true, but asking FSF was way cheaper than asking a
judge in a court of law ;-)
I don't have enough money and interest - that's what open source is about,


On Thu, May 16, 2013 at 8:17 AM, Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> wrote:

> Quoting Grahame Grieve (grahame at healthintersections.com.au):
> > About Java and GPL:
> > http://www.healthintersections.com.au/?p=1225
> Meaning no disrepect to FSF, but asking them the legal application of
> GPL v 3 to a specific situation commits a depressingly common category
> error.
>   (1) In the general case, they are not even the licensor.
>   (2) In any court case, the judge will be looking primarily to
>   the wording of the written licence to determine licensor's intent,
>   not to somebody's essay on a Web site.
> FSF has a famously maximalist notion of what 'derviative work' means,
> particularly in the GPL FAQ -- which you quoted as if it were an
> authority on the subject.  I do not concur about it being that.  It
> expresses, in effect, what FSF would like, not what is.
> I would also expect the licensing and compliance manager at FSF (meaning
> no disrespect to Mr. Joshua Gay), whom you likewise quoted as if he were
> an authority, to reflect FSF's view about what it would like to be true.
> You say 'perception is reality' and therefore FSF's opinion has real
> weight.  Again, with no offence intended to FSF, no, sir.  Perception is
> not reality.  Relevant court-precedent citations are reality.  ;-> [1]
> It is indeed quite valuable to develop an understanding of what
> 'derivative work' (the copyright-law term of art you are indirectly
> reflecting when you quote GPLv3's jargon about 'covered work').  I
> recommend reading caselaw.
> If you have sufficient money and interest, you could instead pay a
> really competent copyright attorney to analyse for you how the law
> applies to your situation.  (I would recommend listening attentively but
> also skepically, and asking sharp questions, as there is plenty of bad
> advice available from lawyers, too.)  Personally, I find reading caselaw
> to meet my needs, but Your Mileage May Differ<tm>.
> [1] As is common with civil law, you look for application of the legal
> principals, regardless of the industry in question.  So, the cases
> concern games (Lewis Galoob Toys v Nintendo America, Sega v. Accolade),
> music (Campbell v. Acuff-Rose), and only rarely software (Kelly v.
> Arriba, Perfect 10 v. Amazon).  No, you won't find a Circuit judge
> saying exactly where the edge of derivative works is for GPLv3-covered
> works used by Java coders, but that's not necessary to get the general
> gist of how the concept works.
> --
> Cheers,                                  Actually, time flies hate a
> banana.
> Rick Moen                                                    -- Micah Joel
> rick at linuxmafia.com
> McQ! (4x80)
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http://www.healthintersections.com.au /
grahame at healthintersections.com.au/ +61 411 867 065
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