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Re: GPL and other licences


From: Stefaan A Eeckels
Subject: Re: GPL and other licences
Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2006 23:02:21 +0100

On Wed, 15 Feb 2006 20:51:56 +0000
Graham Murray <address@hidden> wrote:

> I can see nothing in the FAQ you quoted which states that
> this is not the case, but one part 'However, putting the program on a
> server machine for the public to talk to is hardly "private" use, so
> it would be legitimate to require release of the source code in that
> special case' describes a situation where the licensee has to provide
> a copy of the work.

But the selfsame entry says that the current GPL does not require it,
and that version 3 might do something about that. Plus, it suggests
another license in the meantime. Thus, your interpretation is not
supported by the FSF. They clearly distinguish between what they'd like
the situation to be, and what it is:

|     It is essential for people to have the freedom to make
| modifications and use them privately, without ever publishing those
| modifications. However, putting the program on a server machine for
| the public to talk to is hardly "private" use, so it would be
| legitimate to require release of the source code in that special
| case. We are thinking about doing something like this in GPL version
| 3, but we don't have precise wording in mind yet.
| 
|     In the mean time, you might want to use the Affero GPL for
| programs designed for network server use. 

Notice "it _would be_ legitimate, not _it is_. Thus, it clearly _is
not_ at this time. Notice that "It is essential for people to have the
freedom to make modifications and use them privately". 

In fact, the entries I quoted refute all the assertions made by Alfred
and yourself:

1. Users of a web-based program are not covered by the GPL (and you who
like to extrapolate should have no problem in applying that to people
in front of a glass teletype).
2. An organisation making copies for internal use does not distribute
the software and can forbid its employees from distributing it outside
the company
3. You cannot demand a copy of a GPLed program from the owner of a
copy. It is the owner of a copy who decides to distribute it or not
4. If you get an unlawful copy of a GPLed work (steal one), you can
distribute it under the GPL (ie become a licensee) only (and then only
probably) if it is available elsewhere. It is legal for companies to
treat modified GPLed programs as trade secrets. 

Read the FAQs again. Try and find _one_ that supports your
interpretation. Think about what the great Confucius said: "Mind like
parachute, only works when open." :-)

You are describing how you'd like things to be, not how they are.

Take care,

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


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