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Re: GPL and other licences


From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: GPL and other licences
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2006 16:31:37 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.0.50 (gnu/linux)

"Alfred M\. Szmidt" <address@hidden> writes:

>    > by giving me a CD to install on the local server, the license
>    > comes into play;
>
>    Nope.  The license is given to the licensee, and you are not the
>    licensee, as you don't get to own the CD.  You are only acting on
>    behalf of the company.
>
> I do not have to own the CD, I only have to be in lawful posession
> of the content.  Section 0 of the GPL.

Wrong.  Section 0 of the GPL deals how to _announce_ the license.  The
end of Section 0 makes clear whom the GPL is talking about when it
says "you": Each licensee is addressed as "you".

You are not a licensee, as you are not the owner of the copy.  So the
GPL language does not apply to you when it says "you".

>    But the license doesn't.  The license allows the owner of the CD to
>    redistribute.
>
> The license allows the person in legal posession of the software to
> redistribute, section 0 of the GNU GPL.

It says no such thing.  The complete section 0 is

      0. This License applies to any program or other work which
    contains a notice placed by the copyright holder saying it may be
    distributed under the terms of this General Public License.  The
    "Program", below, refers to any such program or work, and a "work
    based on the Program" means either the Program or any derivative
    work under copyright law: that is to say, a work containing the
    Program or a portion of it, either verbatim or with modifications
    and/or translated into another language.  (Hereinafter,
    translation is included without limitation in the term
    "modification".)  Each licensee is addressed as "you".

    Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are
    not covered by this License; they are outside its scope.  The act
    of running the Program is not restricted, and the output from the
    Program is covered only if its contents constitute a work based on
    the Program (independent of having been made by running the
    Program).  Whether that is true depends on what the Program does.

This defines what is covered by the GPL: namely the program.  It does
not define _who_ is a licensee: that is decided by normal civil law.
Without ownership of a physical copy, there is no licensee.

>    > The employer cannot say that I am not allowed to do so, since
>    > that would violate the license.
>
>    No, it wouldn't, as he is not distributing the software to you by
>    letting you install it on his server.  You are not a third party,
>    but acting as the employer's agent.
>
> By giving me an copy, I get a license.  Section 0 of the GNU GPL.

There is nothing in section 0 that declares anybody coming across code
a licensee, and indeed that would be frivolous.

>   0. This License applies to any program or other work which contains
>      a notice placed by the copyright holder saying it may be
>      distributed under the terms of this General Public License.  The
>      "Program,"
>
> Since I have legally obtained The Program, the terms of the GNU
> General Public License apply.

The terms of the license apply to the licensee, not every bystander.
You are not a licensee.

-- 
David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum




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