The Cathedral and the Bizarre: An Examination of the "Viral" Aspects of the GPL


Michael F. Morgan


While there is a growing body of literature dealing with the General Public License (“GPL”), the potential viral effects of the GPL do not appear to have been analyzed in a detailed technical manner. This paper will attempt to demonstrate that a proper legal analysis of the viral effects of the GPL is dependent on a detailed technical understanding of the specific mechanisms used for each type of program-to-program interaction. Once these technical mechanisms are properly understood it will then be possible to identify the applicable copyright law needed to assess the viral effects of the GPL.

Author Footnote:

Michael F. Morgan is the head of the LaBarge Weinstein Licensing Group. He practices intellectual property law with an emphasis on complex transactions for the development, acquisition, licensing, use or other exploitation of technology products and services.

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