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Re: Library License


> Let me make a more general comment: I think this may be different in
> different countries. Plus, depending on the country, the authorities
> may or may not accept "there is no international copyright protection
> on PCBs" when someone sues someone else about violating some license
> with the help of kicad.
> So what I am saying is we should mention countries along with such
> statements, and before starting a re-licensing process, try and find
> out in which countries people would benefit from it.
> As you can see from my vagueness, I'm not really deep into the
> legalese. But from my understanding, the GPL does not enforce anyone
> to license their work under GPL if they are merely using the library
> (as in using it in a schematic/board, similar to linking a code
> library together with their program) but this is enforced if they are
> doing work based on the library (as in distributing another library
> using footprints from the GPLed library)
> I don't know if this clears anything up or further muddies the waters,
> but I hope for the first,
> Heiko

Only because this concept extends beyond our few library symbols, I take the time to state
my understanding of the effectiveness of the GPL:

The GPL requires little in the way of copyright law to support it, since once ownership is
established, then this GPL license is basically a "terms of use contract".

(Think shrink wrap license, which is a *contract* between two parties, owner and user,
licensor and licensee.)

State laws can trump terms and conditions in a contract, but they need to be present to do

The strength of the GPL comes not from underlying copyright law so much, as it comes from
simple contract law.   That is, you only get to use the software under certain terms,
otherwise do not use it.   Now to fully confuse some:   some of the terms of use involve
how and when you can make copies.   But again, this is mostly a terms of use contract, not
so much to do with a need to have a unified copyright law across all worldwide states.


My understanding from 30 years of owning a software company.