Derivative/collective works and OSL

John Cowan jcowan at
Mon Feb 7 22:25:49 UTC 2005

Chuck Swiger scripsit:

> Indeed?  I just tried using Babelfish (, 
> but my browser didn't handle Cyrillic well enough for me to attempt the 
> return translation.  

When I tried it, it came back "Spirit is willingly ready, but flesh is weak."

> I think the analogy between assembling software components from 
> seperate authors into a finished program and an anthology of short text 
> articles is useful.

Then if a tarball with multiple authors is a collective work, and if compiling
source code to object code produces a copy rather than a derivative work,
then the compiled executable is also a collective work by virtue of being a
copy of a collective work.

And if that is so, then the assumption of the GPL's authors that compiling and
linking GPLed and non-GPLed code produces a work that can only be distributed
under the GPL is flat wrong, for the executable is not "a work based on the
Program" (derivative work) but is a "mere aggregation" (collective work).
All die.  Oh, the embarrassment.

The Imperials are decadent, 300 pound   John Cowan <jcowan at>
free-range chickens (except they have
teeth, arms instead of wings, and
dinosaurlike tails).                        --Elyse Grasso

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