Dangerous Liaisons — Software Combinations as Derivative Works? Distribution, Installation, and Execution of Linked Programs Under Copyright Law, Commercial Licenses, and the GPL
Posted: 27 Jul 2013
Date Written: 2006
Companies have been fighting about software interoperability and substitutability for decades. The battles have usually involved wholesale copying and significant modifications of code to achieve compatibility, and the law seems fairly settled in both respects. More recently, however, software developers and users alike have started to wake up to potential problems regarding combinations of separate programs, particularly in connection with open source software: When do developers and users need to obtain specific authorizations from the copyright owners before they may combine separate programs? What consequences can they expect for failure to obtain required authorizations? Fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) regarding the answers to these questions are prevalent in all quarters and have become a prominent topic in the computer lawyer community.
Keywords: software interoperability, wholesale copying, code modification, open source software
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