Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 2nd May 2012 22:32 UTC, submitted by PLan
Legal "The European Court of Justice ruled on Wednesday that application programming interfaces and other functional characteristics of computer software are not eligible for copyright protection. Users have the right to examine computer software in order to clone its functionality - and vendors cannot override these user rights with a license agreement, the court said." Bravo. A landmark ruling, for sure. If the US courts decide in favour of Oracle in the Google-Oracle case, Europe would instantly become an even friendlier place for technology companies.
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dylansmrjones
Member since:
2005-10-02

You are misrepresenting the posts of Galvanash. Galvanash hasn't stated that GPL never covered dynamic linking. At the very least link to a post where it is the case.

1) There is no actual code in a header file (.h) itself - it simply defines the API but does not actually express it (that would be a .c-file or .m-file for Objective C). So no, header files are not copyrightable. Neither in european countries, nor in USA (at least the courts have said so, so far). But the code which implements the API (.c, .m, .cmm, .pas, .bas). This leads to the answer for question #2.

2) No, not according to copyright law, nor the GPL licenses. Only including the header files makes no sense, and you would know that if you were a programmer. An include statement does not mean that you are putting the source file or the header file among your source files. It is a compiler statement, which means that the compiler during compilation of your source will link against the said file, creating a digital work which includes the copyrightable code implementing the methods described by the header file. So, the answer is a strong and resounding NO! - at least not without violating copyright.

There is one 'but'. When using interpreted languages you as a developer do not control what the binary representation of your digital work will link against since there is no binary until the source is a run by the end user. You can certainly distribute source code which is non-GPL'ed but links to GPL'ed source code. You just cannot distribute the resulting binary product. With interpreted languages (or some plug-in based applications) there is no such binary product to distribute and the GPL may fail to activate. There is nothing new in that.

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