Licensing Issues

Pascal J. Bourguignon pjb at
Wed Jul 1 06:48:01 UTC 2015

Alan Ruttenberg <alanruttenberg at>

> I guess I'm confused. You see to imply that the copyright owner
> expresses an intent in a license, the licensee acts according to the
> intent, and then something bad happens. Could you say what the
> scenario you are imagining is?

The copyright owner O publishes his software S under a given licence L.

A recipient of the software U uses it in a given way, that may or may
not be covered by the licence L.

Now you have two cases:

- either O finds that what U does is conform to the licence L, and
  everybody is happy,

- or O finds that U failed to honor the terms of the license L, and then
  a conflict occur.

In the later case, the conflict may be resolved privately between O and
U (with either O changing his mind, or U changing his use of S to the
satisfaction of O), or it may have to be resolved in court.

And in this later case, since we're dealing with the Copyright Law, an
essential element to the judgement is whether what U has done with S is
a "derived work" of S or not.  And unfortunately, what consititutes a
"derived word" is not for O, U, L, or technical arguments (linked this
or that way) to decide, but for a judge.

__Pascal Bourguignon__       
“The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a
dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to
keep the man from touching the equipment.” -- Carl Bass CEO Autodesk

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