RE: GPL vs non-GPL device drivers

From: David Schwartz
Date: Fri Feb 16 2007 - 21:44:16 EST

> > That's exactly what they're doing. Knowing only the *function* of his
> > program, they are claiming it must obey their licensing terms.
> > They have no
> > idea exactly how he chose to implement that function, but claim
> > they must
> > own it anyway.

> They are not claiming ownership of his code.

When you claim that somoene else's work is a derivative work of yours, that
is precisely what you are doing. You are arguing that they could not have
even created that work without your permission.

> They are claiming
> ownership of THEIR
> code. V J is taking their code, adding on to it and selling the
> result. Without
> the GPL, V J cannot legally do this.

Not so. See any of the numerous cases that explain that you cannot own a
function using copyright. They are saying that because V J did X, he *MUST*
be taking their code because there is no other practical way to *do* X. This
is precisely what copyright *DOES* *NOT* *LET* *YOU* *DO*.

> With the GPL, he can
> legally do this IF he
> also gives out the complete source. I fail to see how anything
> you are saying
> absolves him of this requirement.

The fact that they are claiming rights that are impossible with copyright
and inconsistent with its logic. Copyright covers the one way you chose to
do something out of the many possible ways to do it. To argue "you must have
taken my code because you were able to *DO* X" is arguing you own every
practical way to do X. This is what software patents do, but this is beyond
the scope of copyright.

How can they know he took their code to accomplish a particular function
unless they are claiming they own every way to accomplish that function?
This is precisely what the open source community stands *AGAINST*.
(Ownership of functions.)


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