Calling GPL code from a Python application

Mike Meyer mwm at mired.org
Wed Jan 4 05:23:28 CET 2006


Tim Churches <tchur at optushome.com.au> writes:
> Steven D'Aprano <steve at REMOVETHIScyber.com.au> wrote:
>> In particular:
>> http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html
>> [quote]
>> Q: If a library is released under the GPL (not the LGPL), does that mean
>> that any program which uses it has to be under the GPL? 
>> A: Yes, because the program as it is actually run includes the library. 
>> [end quote]
>
> Yes, but the rather fundamental problem with the FSF position above being the following words as contained in the GPL itself:
> Section 0., Para 1 (assuming zero-based paragraph numbering...): 
> "Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are not 
> covered by this License; they are outside its scope. The act of running 
> the Program is not restricted,..." 
> Sorry, but "Yes, because the program as it is actually run includes the library." is incompatible with "Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are not covered by this License; they are outside its scope. The act of running the Program is not restricted."

You can't run the program without copying it from disk to memory. If
you demand page from the executable, you might argue that you're just
exercising fair use rights on excerpts, but I wouldn't try that.  I
vaguely recall that I heard about this as part of a court decision
which accepted the above argument as a valid case for copyright
restricting the ability to execute a program. But IANAL, don't put
money on it. In particular, how this interacts with the *rest* of the
GPL is completely unknown to me.

      <mike
-- 
Mike Meyer <mwm at mired.org>			http://www.mired.org/home/mwm/
Independent WWW/Perforce/FreeBSD/Unix consultant, email for more information.



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