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Re: GPL and other licences


From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: GPL and other licences
Date: Fri, 03 Feb 2006 15:28:17 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.0.50 (gnu/linux)

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

>    > Are you really disputing the fact that one can combine non-free
>    > work with a GPLed program?
>
>    Yes.  
>
> Then you really ought to read the GPL.  Specially the clauses about
> not being able to put restrictions on a user, i.e. making the software
> non-free.

Read the GPL?  You are joking.

0. [...]

    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.

So we have established that we are _not_ talking about copying and
distribution: we are talking about internal use here.  So the only
relevant points are those concerned with modification.  The only
relevant point would be

  2. You may modify your copy or copies of the Program or any portion
of it, thus forming a work based on the Program, and copy and
distribute such modifications or work under the terms of Section 1
above, provided that you also meet all of these conditions:

Note that this concerns modification _and_ distribution.  It talks
about the requirements that have to be met towards users and
recipients of the software.  That is, when there _is_ such a third
party.  If the only user is the company itself, the paragraph is
pretty irrelevant.

And indeed, copyright law permits you to mutilate your physical copy
of any content to your heart's content.  You are allowed to burn books
or cut and paste them together as you like once you acquired them.
The restrictions of copyright come into play only when copying and
redistribution come into play.

>    If I combine two GPL licensed programs on my system, which I
>    believe you would agree is allowed, does that allow everyone to
>    copy, redistribute, etc?
>
> If they hold a copy of the program, yes.

Oh nonsense.  Only if they legally acquired a copy.  Nobody is allowed
to steal software just because _if_ it would be released, it would
have to be under a free license.

For example, I develop and sell software under the GPL and am getting
paid for it.  Do you think that people would be allowed to break into
my computer, steal the software and distribute it themselves?

Hogwash.  My customers may choose to redistribute the software at
their discretion once they have legally acquired it under the GPL.
But nobody gets rights to GPLed software magically without someone
granting them who has the right to do so.

> Why don't you _read_ the license?  Please, just do that instead, the
> GPL isn't that hard to read.

Which makes it surprising that you manage to come up with all those
misconceptions.

-- 
David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum


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