Derivative/collective works and OSL

John Cowan jcowan at
Mon Feb 7 22:55:42 UTC 2005

Michael Poole scripsit:

> At least in the US, a collective work requires that the components be
> "separate and independent works in themselves."  If you ship an
> executable that can only run when some library is present, it is
> probably not an independent work.

On that view, large and significant libraries like glibc are not independent
works either.  I don't think we can identify independent works with executable
(when compiled) works.

> This is also not necessarily true.  Most dynamically linked libraries
> are incorporated by reference in the application that uses them.  If
> the only way to satisfiy that reference is by using a GPLed library,
> or if you distribute it with a GPLed library[1], then the combination
> is perhaps a compilation but not a collective work (as those terms are
> defined in 17 USC 101).

So says the FSF, but does the law back them up?  Nobody knows.

Business before pleasure, if not too bloomering long before.
        --Nicholas van Rijn
                John Cowan <jcowan at>

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