Re: GPL vs non-GPL device drivers

From: Alexandre Oliva
Date: Sat Feb 17 2007 - 01:33:21 EST

On Feb 17, 2007, "David Schwartz" <davids@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

>> Linking with kernel exported symbols in a kernel module is by many
>> people considered creating a work derived from the kernel.

> That's simply unreasonable. It is the most clear settled law that only a
> creative process can create a work for copyright purposes. Linking is an
> automated process, not a creative process. It cannot create a work at all,
> much less a derivative work.

Per this principle, it would seem that only source code and
hand-crafted object code would be governed by copyright, since
compilation is also an automated process.

FWIW, touches a very similar
issue, also covered in the upcoming release of the video of the FSFLA
session in the 5th GPLv3 conference.

> If you have two works, A and B, and neither is a derivative work of the
> other, linking them together cannot change the status of A or B.

IANAL, but I understand this is correct. However, the output is
probably a derivative work of both.

Also, it's the fact that A needs to be linked with B, or vice-versa,
that's a clue that A is likely to be a derived work from B, or
vice-versa, even before they're linked together.

Alexandre Oliva
FSF Latin America Board Member
Red Hat Compiler Engineer aoliva@{,}
Free Software Evangelist oliva@{,}
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