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Re: Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

On Jun 18, 2008, Les Mikesell <lesmikesell gmail com> wrote:

> Alexandre Oliva wrote:
>> Here, take this program here:
>> http://www.lsd.ic.unicamp.br/~oliva/papers/vta/example.c
>> What do you think you're entitled to do with it as it stands?

> Assuming it is permitted for me to get a copy in the first place,

You don't need permission from a copyright holder to receive a copy.
You don't get fined or go to jail if someone sends you spam containing
a copyrighted work, or you pick up a piece of paper with copyrighted
material thrown out of an airplane.

> then I have fair use of it.

Such as...

> I could link my copy with anything else I wanted.

Why do you think you could combine it with other works without my

> And I could give away my work that called it and some other code.

Depending on how it calls my work, the work you created based on mine
may amount to a derived joint work per copyright law, and then you'd
need my permission to distribute it.

>> Now, if I tell you, I license it to you under the GPL, and you accept
>> it.  what you you think you're no longer entitled to do with it?

> Then I couldn't give my additional work away to other people to use
> with their own copies of your work and third party libraries.

No difference.

> They could hire me to re-invent it, but I couldn't distribute my
> work.

If it is your work, you can.  If it's our joint work, you'd need my
permission as well, and you'd have permission to distribute it under
the terms of the GPL.

Besides, the GPL doesn't (and couldn't) take away any of your fair use
rights, because it's not a contract (no reciprocation), it's a
unilateral grant of permissions.

>>> No one but the FSF claims that a patch is a derived work

>> How would you defend the claim that something that literally copies
>> portions of a copyrightable work is not?

> It's fair use

Why?  How do you (or rather courts) draw the line?

> but I'd settle for being able to do a line-numbered
> edit script that didn't not copy any original material.

Literal copying is not required to create a derived work.

> Or a completely separate work that linked two differently licensed
> libraries that are not included.

Once it links with the other libraries, it contains portions of the
libraries, so it is a joint work.

Just like, it's not because you wrote a novel book that mentions some
famous paintings that you're entitled to print in the book copies of
those paintings, or even vague sketches thereof, and then distribute
copies of the book.

> Yes, we covered the fact that everyone else permits it.

If someone permits it (definitely not everyone), it's presumable that
such a permission is required.  Indeed, copyright does require such
permissions.  You seem to believe it doesn't, but you're mistaken.

>> Try creating a work based on internal DLLs, for which you have no
>> "developer" permissions.

> Again, I have never heard of any prohibition against sharing such a
> thing with anyone who has their own copy of all required components.

Not knowing or not understanding the law is not an excuse to not
comply with it.

>>> if the resulting 'work as a whole' would be be a derived work,
>> Then it's not "your own original work"

> Define whose work it is, then.

It's a joint work.  If you derive a work from mine, in the copyright
sense, then both of us are authors, both of us have a say (veto power)
on how it can be modified and distributed.

> Take the case of an original program
> that links with two other libraries. It is entirely conceivable and
> fairly likly that compatible GPL and non-GPL libraries will be
> available and it is the end users choice at compile/run time.  Who
> owns this work?

Whoever owns the source code of the original program and that of the
library whose (minor) portions got copied into the binary.

You defend from a claim of infringement presenting another library and
claiming you derived the distributed executable from it.  Then you'd
be bound by the terms of that other library.

In theory, you could clean-room-develop just enough of a duplicate of
the library to be able to create an executable that doesn't copy
anything from the library.  It might still be regarded as an
infringement by a court, though, because at times what counts is the
intention, even if the strict letter can be bent to support the facts.

>>> Without the GPL, I can give you a copy of my original work that
>>> links to that library

>> Only if the copyright holder of the library granted you permission to
>> distribute your derived work.

> That's just not true.

I'm afraid you got your facts wrong.  Talk to your lawyer about
distributing combined works.

Alexandre Oliva         http://www.lsd.ic.unicamp.br/~oliva/
Free Software Evangelist  oliva {lsd ic unicamp br, gnu.org}
FSFLA Board Member       ¡Sé Libre! => http://www.fsfla.org/
Red Hat Compiler Engineer   aoliva {redhat com, gcc.gnu.org}

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