[Ffmpeg-devel] [DISCUSSION] GPL violation by ratDVD?

Rich Felker dalias
Mon Aug 22 00:02:45 CEST 2005

On Sun, Aug 21, 2005 at 05:41:40PM +0100, M?ns Rullg?rd wrote:
> Ivan Kalvachev <ikalvachev at gmail.com> writes:
> > 2005/7/31, matthieu castet <castet.matthieu at free.fr>:
> >> Gamester17 wrote:
> >> > Is ratDVD (www.ratdvd.dk) violating the GPL?, open discussions:
> >> > http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/215044
> >> > http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?p=693256#post693256
> >> > PS!  I will be supprised if this isn't 'slashdotted' soon =/
> >> >
> >> well there was a discussion on dvd-devel ML
> >> (http://sourceforge.net/mailarchive/forum.php?thread_id=7525493&forum_id=774),
> >> and the dvdnav authors seem don't care.
> >> Without them you can't do anything.
> >> 
> >> Moreover as the GPL FAQ say, you can use GPL applications in your
> >> proprietary software if they run as external process. So there'll always
> >> people trying to build complex wrapper to profit of GPL software...
> >
> > The criteria is actually very simple. If the non-free program depends
> > on GPL program to work, then they are linked, thus the comersial
> > program is in violation.
> > It doesn't matter what interface they use and how they are connected.
> It does matter.  If the program can use a (hypothetical) drop-in
> replacement for a GPL component, without being recompiled or relinked,
> there is a dependency only an *interface*, and copyright restrictions
> do not cross interface boundaries.

It does matter, as long as the party making the proprietary program is
distributing the GPL module with the intent that it be used as part of
their proprietary program. In this case they are, and there is no
drop-in replacement. See the objective-C case for a similar scenario
in which the infringing party settled.

Natrually no one is bound by the GPL if they are not distributing the
GPL program and the GPL program just happens to be usable when
interfaced with their proprietary program. However, when they ARE
distributing the GPL program, and their product DOES NOT WORK
WHATSOEVER without it, they MUST comply with the terms of the GPL.


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