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Re: The GPL means what you want it to mean


From: Rjack
Subject: Re: The GPL means what you want it to mean
Date: Mon, 06 Apr 2009 09:57:42 -0400
User-agent: Thunderbird 2.0.0.21 (Windows/20090302)

Alan Mackenzie wrote:
In gnu.misc.discuss Rjack <address@hidden> wrote:
Alan Mackenzie wrote:
In gnu.misc.discuss Thufir Hawat <address@hidden>
wrote:

It[the GPL]'s just as much a contract as any other EULA.

The GPL isn't a EULA, except perhaps the tiny part of it that
says "you may run this program unconditionally".  The concept
of "end user" is absent in free software licensing, and the GPL
goes to considerable lengths to ensure that nobody is relegated
to the status of an "end user", except by choice.

The GPL is a license for distributing and changing software,
not for using it.

Your remark concerning "use" is interesting. There is a subtle distinction between "use" in the context of patents and that of copyrights. The patent grant states:

[ .... ]

In copyright matters there is no broad right to "use" a work. In
copyright "scope of use" must *directly* limit one of the the
*specific* enumerated rights in listed in 17 U.S.C. 106:

(1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords; (2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work; (3) to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work
to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by
rental, lease, or lending; (4) in the case of literary, musical,
dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion
pictures and other audiovisual works, to perform the copyrighted
work publicly; (5) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic,
and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or
sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion
picture or other audiovisual work, to display the copyrighted
work publicly; and (6) in the case of sound recordings, to
perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of a digital audio
transmission.

So unlike patent cases, in most (not all) copyright suits
alleging "use" violation it is a matter of breach of contract and
not copyright infringement.

That's a non-sequitur.  There's no logical implication of your last
 paragraph by your second last.  Anyhow, my point was more about
the "end" in "end user".  As soon as somebody is an "end user", the
GPL imposes no restrictions or conditions of any kind on her.  It
is only when her use is other than an "end use" that the GPL
becomes important.

The GPL is legally important only in the sense that it generates
grounds for claims of promissory estoppel for users of GPL'd code.

Sincerely,
Rjack :)


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