[development] Modules that integrate non-GPL PHP apps violate the GPL.

Laura Scott laura at pingv.com
Fri Sep 7 15:14:52 UTC 2007

On Sep 6, 2007, at 4:28 PM, Thomas Barregren wrote:

> Assume you write a module for Drupal. Any meaningful module to  
> Drupal implements at least one hook. That alone makes the module a  
> derived work of Drupal.

I wonder whether that in fact is true. By this logic, if you write an  
application that interfaces with Word, then Microsoft owns it as a  
derivative of their product. Is that how copyright works? Every time  
two different applications touch, we have litigation as to who has  
the most cooties?

If someone pulls on a door handle, does he become a derivative of the  
door? Some things are designed to be utilized by other systems. APIs  
exist in large part to allow different systems to interface with each  
other. To claim that not only must a bridge module (to use the  
example we've been tossing about) be GPL but anything it touches must  
be GPL as well seems to be a rather far-reaching legal claim ... or  
tragically self-isolating interpretation for policy.

Can GPL exist only in isolation from all other systems? Does mere  
communication or interaction imply derivation? That's what the RIAA  
and MPAA claim in their dragnet lawsuits, pre-litigation settlement  
demands and things like the Sony Rootkit. What next? A GPL rootkit?

I wonder how Lawrence Lessig would interpret GPL.


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