Subject: Re: Effect of the MySQL FLOSS License Exception?
From: Alex Rousskov <>
Date: Fri, 18 Jun 2004 09:49:26 -0600 (MDT)

On Fri, 18 Jun 2004, John Cowan wrote:

> The sticky point is this:
> 	It's settled that a binary is a derivative work of
> 	its source.  It's obvious that a source tarball is a mere
> 	collective work, or "aggregation" as the GPL calls it.	What,
> 	then, is the status of a binary compiled from the tarball?
> 	It evidently is a derivative of the collection; is it a
> 	derivative of the source works as well?
> Larry says (in effect) no; Eben says yes.  Infinite are the
> arguments of mages.

Good summary, IMHO. Now, what would it take, pragmatically, to settle
the arguments? My understanding is that one way is for FSF to sue
somebody over the corresponding copyright violation. On the other
hand, folks seem to post existing court materials that contradict each
other or otherwise unusable. Do we need a high-profile case similar to
SCO to settle the issue for a while?

Is there a better way, given US legal system? I believe one can make
an argument that this conflict of opinions has a significant negative
impact on US economy (productivity is lowered because folks are forced
to re-implement existing GPL software in fear of getting "infected" by
that reciprocal license). Would such an argument alone, without a
single party showing damages, be enough to have US courts consider the
conflict and resolve it one way or the other? That is, have US courts
to say "yes, your fears are reasonable, continue re-implementing" or
"no, your fears are unreasonable, stop re-implementing".

Is there some kind of a peaceful resolution here? One that does not
involve FSF suing somebody or somebody (class action?) suing FSF?



P.S. I used "US" above simply as a good starting point. I realize the
     answer might differ depending on the country.
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