loophole in the GPL?
jread at semiotek.com
Thu Mar 30 19:00:15 UTC 2000
I'm sure it's not, but someone please explain to me why not.
If the GPL is just a grant under copyright law, and not a contract, then
why can't I do the following:
-- I get a copy of a GPL'd work called "SSP" (some software program)
-- I am legally entitled to make private derivative copies of such a
work, and I am the owner of those copies. So I make some changes to
the work, and then I compile it, producing a binary.
-- The binary is a copy which I am legally entitled to own, and I have
the implicit right, under copyright law, to sell any copy of a work
I own to someone else--nobody can take this right from me.
-- I sell you the binary copy, without giving you the source code. The
GPL is not allowed to prevent me from selling to you the copy of the
binary which I legally own.
-- I make lots of these copies and sell them to lots of people, never
giving anyone the source.
The GPL says that if I "distribute" copies then I must provide source. I,
however, maintain that I am doing no such thing--I am *selling* copies,
transfering my ownership of that copy to someone else, not distributing
This wouldn't work if the GPL forbade me from making my own private
derivations and privately copying them. But I don't think it forbids
this: it lets me privately do whatever I like. And once I've privately
made a derivative, I don't see why I shouldn't be able to sell it, since
copyright law insists that i have the right to sell any copy in my
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