Licensing question (GPL or LGPL) (Ben Finney)

Wim De Smet fragmeat at
Thu Jul 7 16:46:51 UTC 2005

On Wed, 6 Jul 2005 10:03:02 +1000
Ben Finney <ben at> wrote:
> It all comes down to whether your work is a "derivative work" of some
> else's, e.g. the Flext code. If so, you're not the sole copyright
> holders in the derivative work and must comply with the license under
> which you received that code.
> Writing a program which links to a library is generally held to be
> making a derivative work of that library, thus the combined program
> must satisfy all license terms when you perform an act covered by
> copyright.
> In short: though you've written the program, you've based it on
> someone else's work (the library), thus it's a derivative work, thus
> their license terms apply to your distribution.

That's kind of a narrow interpretation of derivative work. Derivative
work in the copyright sense is usually interpreted a lot more narrow.
E.g. a wrapper around a library is a derivative work (since it adds
nothing), a program which uses among others a library to reach its
intended goal is not always a derivative work. I'd look at this on a
case by case basis and not use the interpretation used in the GPL faq,
which is IMHO faulty. I'm just contributing this to urge the OP to talk
to a lawyer, and perhaps to the copyright holders of the GPL'd library
since in court it can sometimes matter what the intent of the
copyright holder is with respect to the licensing.


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