Program output - Restricted under GPL?

Werner Koch wk at
Mon Nov 17 14:59:44 UTC 2003

On 13 Nov 2003 09:33:01 +0100, Reinhard Müller said:

> One program reading the output of another program doesn't make the whole
> a derived work. Not even, if they are connected via mechanisms like a
> Unix style pipe.

Well, it depends.  The GPL does on purpose not specify what "derived"
exactly means.  For example if you use a mechanism as above to work
around the requirements of the GPL, this may very well constitute a
derived work.  A better test for this is, whether the output or input
the GPLed program is generic enough to be a useful program without
employing the non-GPL program.


Werner Koch                                     FSF Europe e.V
Head of Office       +49-700-FSFEUROPE

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