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From Jeffrey Thompson <jt...@us.ibm.com>
Subject RE: virality of IBM's CPL ?
Date Tue, 25 Jul 2006 01:26:32 GMT
"Jim Barnett" <jimb@bea.com> wrote on 07/24/2006 02:42:47 PM:

> "Separate modules that aren't *otherwise derived from* 
> each other have no license effect, at least as far as the CPL is 
> concerned."
> 
> True, but the concept of "derivation" is a fuzzy one.

I don't agree.  The definition is fairly clear.  Giving a priori advice on 
how to avoid unintentionally making derivatives may be fuzzy.
> 
> Does a developer that has looked at CPL-covered code, but then develops
> his or her own separate module "derive" anything from the CPL-covered
> module viewed? 

That wasn't Paul's question.  His question was very narrow and fairly 
clear.  Would linking to a CPL licensed program create a viral problem. 
The answer to that is clearly "no".  If the new module isn't a copyright 
derivative in the traditional sense, the linking doesn't change that.

>Is exposure alone (i.e., access) to copyrighted work
> governed by the CPL enough to render any subsequent similar work by the
> developer a "derivative" of the CPL code?  How does a developer know
> when he or she is deriving from a prior work? 

In any case where you are reading someone else's code and writing new code 
which ends up "substantially similar" (which means that an objective 
observer reading the two implementations would be struck by the 
similarities and conclude that copying is the most likely cause for them) 
you have an issue.  But, why is that relevant?

You also mention the CDDL and the MPL, but I don't remember anything in 
either of those licenses that authorizes you to create substantially 
similar, non-literal copies of their licensed code and avoid the copyright 
claims as long as you put the result in a separate "file".  This is an 
issue inherent in copyright, and is not license-specific.  But again, its 
not the question that Paul asked.

CDDL and MPL differentiate based on file.  EPL and CPL differentiate based 
on module.  Personally, I think basing the distinction on a file basis 
just encourages an overuse of #include, but its not really that important 
and its a discussion for a different day in any event.

Jeff

Staff Counsel, IBM Corporation  (914)766-1757  (tie)8-826  (fax) -8160
(notes) jthom@ibmus  (internet) jthom@us.ibm.com (home) jeff@beff.net
(web) http://www.beff.net/ 



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