Get ready....

Arkin arkin at
Thu Apr 15 04:04:01 UTC 1999

> The GPL is a copyright document, and you're no more allowed to change it
> than (say) the code of Windows NT or the text "Code Complete", except
> for 'fair use' provisions.  (For example, I imagine quoting parts of the
> GPL in this discussion counts as fair use, even thought the GPL's
> meta-license doesn't permit it.)  The text of the GPL is not licensed to
> you under the GPL: you may think that's inconsistent, but it makes sense
> in terms of the FSF's goals.

I may not modify the document, but I can certainly create a document
that is nearly identical to it.

Now, if this was a poem, the chances of me arbitrarily creating a
similar poem are nil. If my poem looks very much like yours, you can
assume I copied it. On the other hand, in the restricted, formal and
limited legal language, if we both create contracts to protect code in
the same way, the contracts might end up identical word to word, even
though neither of us copied from the other.

That is why legal documents are not and have never been protected by
copyright law.


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