RE: what does constitute "linking"?
Hardy, Allan <allan.hardy <at> lmco.com>
2009-06-18 19:53:12 GMT
First, you have to consider who owns the rights to the work. The
copyrights holder can interpret the GPL terms as they see fit.
As example the Linux Kernel team does not take the same interpretation
as the FSF/Gnu folks do.
Other GPL holders may look to the FSF (free software foundation) for
assistance, so overall, figuring out what the FSF's position is on this
issue is probably the most conservative way to go.
That said, your question isn't really about linking, its about what
constitutes a derived work, in short when would your work which uses the
GPL work be subject to the GPL requirement for reciprocity, when does
your work need to be licensed under GPL
This is a very old question and it's been discussed I'm sure thousands
of times. You are in an area where there is no case law, no judges
rulings to go by, for the most part. You will in the end be making a
risk assessment. The GPL/FSF pushes copyright law and definitions to
extremes, especially in definition of a derived work, and simply no one
knows what will ever hold up in court.
So you will in the end be deciding on the risk factors of FSF/Copyright
holder taking issue with you, and the risk factors if a Court Judge
rules if your form of use is a derived work, etc. Measure into your
risk factors that Open source licenses, as of last Dec 08, are covered
under copyright law, per supreme court. So you have statutory damages
of up to I think $150k per incident. So 10 users could be $1.5M in
damages. (These are just illustrations), also consider the non financial
aspects, bad publicity, etc.