Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 7th Sep 2010 21:52 UTC
Games I've often harped on Apple for its policy regarding jailbreaking, but of course, Apple isn't the only company engaging in such practices. We already talked about Motorola, and now, we have Sony - already a company with a checkered past when it comes to consumer rights. As it turns out, Sony don't want you jailbreaking your their Playstation 3.
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RE[5]: Ridiculous
by lemur2 on Wed 8th Sep 2010 07:29 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Ridiculous"
lemur2
Member since:
2007-02-17

"
Even a proprietary application dynamically linked against GPL libraries is OK to distribute, because the proprietary application does not include the GPL libraries. With dynamic linking, the libraries are assumed to be already installed on the end user system, and the proprietary application just calls them. This is fully within the GPL terms ... anyone may simply run the GPL code for any purpose.


You realize that the FSF disagrees? They (and I believe Richard Stallman) hold that even dynamically linking constitutes a derived work, although that is only their opinion.
"

If it is so, it is indeed only the opinion of the FSF, because copyright law itself clearly says that a derived work is only created when a work includes another earlier work within it. Also, the GPL itself says that only distribution of GPL'd code requires that the soruce code is made available.

A proprietary program which merely dynamically links to GPL'd code clearly does not include the GPL'd code in that package which is physically distributed. Therefore, the act of dynamically linking to GPL'd libraries does not come under the restrictions of the GPL, and there is no derived work (under copyright law) involved.

Perhaps the FSF might argue that the proprietary program when running on the users system, as held in the user's RAM at that time it does include the dynamically linked GPL'd code ... but that form of the program is not what was distributed. It is the users who use the proprietary program plus the GPL'd code together, and the users have permission to do that from the GPL (for the GPL'd code) and from the purchase license (for the proprietary part).

It is a fine legal argument, I suppose, but on the face of it, that is what copyright law itself would appear to uphold. On first principles, it would seem that it is perfectly within the law and within the terms of the GPL license to distribute a proprietary program that merely dynamically links to GPL'd code in order to run on an end user's system.

Caveat: IANAL.

PS: In every case of GPL violations that the FSF has argued in court, AFAIK it has involved instances when GPL'd code was physically included in the package that was being distributed. These are the ONLY cases the FSF has tried to enforce.

Edited 2010-09-08 07:40 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2