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Re: GPL and other licences


From: Stefaan A Eeckels
Subject: Re: GPL and other licences
Date: Sun, 12 Feb 2006 21:13:08 +0100

On Sun, 12 Feb 2006 17:36:44 +0000
Graham Murray <address@hidden> wrote:

> Stefaan A Eeckels <address@hidden> writes:
> 
> > The assertion that the GPL gives you the right to make unlawful
> > copies is obviously incorrect, as it is not a right the copyright
> > holder can grant.
> 
> GPL or otherwise, is the copyright holder not the only person who
> *can* give permission to make copies? 

Indeed, but he cannot grant you the right to make copies of something
that doesn't belong to him. Do you really believe that a copyright
holder can give me permission to make copies of files on *your*
computer, whatever the license? Don't forget that you own the copy, but
not the work. The right to make copies is with owner of the work. Your
right to make copies of your copy depends on the license, but your
right to refuse anyone to make copies of your copy is inalienable(*).

Imagine that you have purchased a license from me. The software is my
property, and I can license it as I please to whom I please, but I
simply cannot give someone the right to make a copy of your property
(i.e. the licensed copy you bought from me) even if that someone has
legitimate access to your computer, and the license allows *you* to
make copies. You own that copy, and whatever the license(*), you can
refuse that someone makes copies of it. 

What the OP claimed was that the GPL allowed him to ignore the rights
of the legitimate owner of the copy. This of course is patent nonsense,
if only because the GPL is not an intrinsic attribute of the software,
but an agreement between two parties, and thus external to the
software, even if the text of a proposed license accompanies it.

Take care,

(*) I know one could write a license that stipulates that copies, and
a male goat, must be provided to anyone who asks. However, only a fool
would sign such a thing, so could those who like to dot the t's and
cross the i's please refrain from bringing it up? Thanks.

-- 
Stefaan
-- 
As complexity rises, precise statements lose meaning,
and meaningful statements lose precision. -- Lotfi Zadeh 


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