GPL - possible violation - what should I do?

Claus Färber list-fsf-eu-discussion at
Fri Mar 22 07:44:00 UTC 2002

Georg Jakob <jack at> schrieb/wrote:
> Why the hell would anybody want to reverse-engineere a programm when you
> can have the source under GPL?

You completly missed the point: The statement only shows that it
is the intention of the legislator to allow creation of
interoperable software regardless of copyright restrictions.

So, depending on national law (in Germany ?307 II 1. BGB) this
might render a clause that only allows interoperable software
under certain conditions (such as being GPL) void.

Otherwise, this would lead to strange situations: You would always
be allowed to decompile the programme to find out the information
neccessary to write interoperable programmes (as it can't excluded
by contract) but you could not write interoperable programmes
because of other licensing restrictions.

> So, your analogy is incorrect: What you are reffering to is a legal
> measure designed for cases in which you buy software and can not use it
> the way you need, because the Licensor refuses to give you the source.

No, that's plain wrong. The Directive 91/250/EEC clearly says:

| Whereas an objective of this exception is to make it possible to
| connect all components of a computer system, including those of
| different manufacturers, so that they can work together;

(where it is clear from later paragraphs that components refers to
both hard and software.)

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