[odc-discuss] input/output Licensing

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Fri Nov 6 12:51:00 UTC 2009


Marco Milanesi wrote:
> we are in the process of trying to understand how to regulate
> the input and output data of a GPL licensed software in a copylefted way.

Can you elaborate?

How does one "regulate the input" - are you thinking along the lines of 
"you may only use this software to process data that is licensed like 

And how does one "regulate the output" - are you thinging along the 
lines of "anything you produce with this software has to be licensed 
like this..."?

The following may be irrelevant once this is cleared up, but let me say 
it anyway before I forget: I believe that

(a) the GPL is incompatible with this; I am not a GPL expert but I 
believe that you cannot add arbitrary restrictions (like "you may only 
use this software when the moon shines/in Romania/when processing free 
data") to the GPL.

(b) at least as far as regulating the output goes, it is very unlikely 
that you (as a person or company) gain any rights to the output created 
with your program by someone else. Licenses are typically footed in 
copyright (which requires a creative act on your part - certainly not 
the case if someone else uses your software on his own input data) or 
database right (which requires that you have made an effort to collect 
the data - probably also not the case if someone else uses your software 
on his own input data). Trying to "license" anything to which you have 
no rights is moot (and morally questionable).


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