[Fedora-legal-list] Does the GPL cover this?

Tom "spot" Callaway tcallawa at redhat.com
Mon Mar 8 20:38:48 UTC 2010

On 03/08/2010 03:27 PM, Christopher Svanefalk wrote:
> Hello,
> I would like to implement some Java-beans specific functionality
> into a GTK project I am writing in C#. Basically, I want to make
> interfaces/classes that mimic the functionality of Bean-specific
> stuff like PropertyChangeListener, ActionListener etc.
> It is really not much coding or complex at all, and I will _not_ be
> looking at the Java sourcecode for this, and the only things I am
> thinking of _copying_ are the names of the of the methods and
> interfaces/classes in question.
> However, would doing this cause me to have any obligations under
> the GPL, ASL or other applicable license for the Java classes? I am
> guessing functionality is not copyrightable, but what about names
> of classes etc?

Well, first of all, an argument could be made that when you look at
sourcecode file A which does foo, then you go and implement sourcecode
file B which also does foo, that sourcecode file B is a derived work,
and needs to inherit the licensing from file A.

By choosing identical method names, if it ever got legally complicated,
you might run into trouble proving that your code was not a derived work
of the other code.

If you're really not planning on copying any of the functional code, I
would personally recommend that you not reuse the function names, not
only for the legal murkiness that it would cause, but also because it
might cause confusion with the API for the other code.

~spot, who is not a lawyer, thus, this is not legal advice, and you
should not treat it as such

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