kdelibs and the GPL

Waldo Bastian bastian at kde.org
Thu Jun 20 18:20:13 BST 2002

On Thursday 20 June 2002 09:44 am, Rolf Magnus wrote:
> On Thursday 20 June 2002 15:35, Rob Kaper wrote:
> > Well.. "ultimately judges will decide", "we *believe*" (emphasis added)
> > and "*could* be a *basis* to consider" (emphasis added) do not sound very
> > convincing.
> >
> > Well, um, it could be, might not be, but it could be, a basis - not an
> > actual reason just a basis - to consider..
> Ok, but OTOH - can you be sure that you'll win if the FSF sues you?

The opinion of the FSF is interesting because they wrote the license, but the 
fact that they wrote the license does not give them any standing to sue 
anyone. It's only a copyright holder that can sue over alleged copyright 
infringement so when it comes to being sued it's more important what the 
copyright holder thinks than what the FSF thinks.

Of course it's easy to sue someone, it's harder to sue someone and win the 
case. To win the case you will have to convince a judge or jury based on the 
law (copyright law in the case of the (L)GPL) and for that you will probably 
have to establish that the offending work is a derived work (as defined by 
copyright law) from your work otherwise you have no basis to sue for 
copyright infringement. Although it's nice to hear what the FSF thinks 
constitutes a derived work, what matters is what copyright law defines and 
how a judge interprets copyright law. Andreas mail gave some ideas about 

bastian at kde.org  |   SuSE Labs KDE Developer  |  bastian at suse.com

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