What about if I sell computers with embedded home-made antivirus using ClamAV database as its main database or as optional database? Of course the software isn't open-source/GPL.

Is it allowed?

Many thanks.

  • 2
    What licese terms are on the database? If the data is only GPL licensed, you're probably fine: programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/218344/… If the data has more restrictive terms, you may not be.
    – apsillers
    Nov 20, 2014 at 3:15
  • 1
    This doesn't seem like a conceptual programming question. Note that the ClamAV home page says "ClamAV is an open source antivirus engine," so your claim that it's not open source appears to be wrong. Nov 20, 2014 at 3:39
  • i think the license type is GPL v2, still fine? Nov 20, 2014 at 3:41
  • @RobertHarvey, I mean my "home-made antivirus" is not an open source. Nov 20, 2014 at 3:43
  • 3
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about legal advice. Nov 20, 2014 at 13:11

1 Answer 1


If you can read the database without using GPL code (borrowed from ClamAV or obtained elsewhere), and if the license of the database itself allows it, then you can use the database as input for your non-free application.

If you can't read the database without using GPL code, then that GPL code forces you to release your application under the GPL as well.

In general, an application and the data it uses are considered separate unrelated works under copyright law, so their licenses generally don't affect each other and don't need to be compatible.
For that reason, the license on the ClamAV database can be very different and much more restrictive than the license on the ClamAV application. If you want to use the database, be sure to check under what terms it is being distributed.

  • The license on ClamAV database is GPLv2. To read the database, I use DLL file which is also GPL. Nov 21, 2014 at 3:27
  • @KompasAntivirus: The DLL you use to read the database will be a deal breaker for creating a non-GPL application. Nov 21, 2014 at 5:45
  • "I'll also note that you can not 'link' to GPL code via a non-GPL'd app unless 1) the library is LGPL'd, or 2) You have an exception made by the developers of said app" taken from lists.clamav.net/pipermail/clamav-win32/2008-August/000592.html Nov 21, 2014 at 8:12
  • @KompasAntivirus: That is correct, and a DLL also gets linked into your application (be it at runtime). See also the last paragraph in the mailing-list post you referenced. Nov 21, 2014 at 8:20

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