loophole in the GPL?

John Cowan jcowan at reutershealth.com
Thu Mar 30 19:52:38 UTC 2000

Justin Wells wrote:

> 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
> them.

The term "distribute" must be understood in the sense in which it is
used in the Copyright Act.  The term is not actually defined there, but
is used thus:  "distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work
to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or
lending".  So selling copies is a type, indeed the primary type, of distribution.
This argument also fails the "laugh test"; if your argument makes the
judge laugh (derisively), don't expect a decision in your favor.

"How many legs does a dog have, if you call its tail a leg?"
"Four. Calling the tail a leg doesn't make it one."
	--Abraham Lincoln


Schlingt dreifach einen Kreis um dies! || John Cowan <jcowan at reutershealth.com>
Schliesst euer Aug vor heiliger Schau,  || http://www.reutershealth.com
Denn er genoss vom Honig-Tau,           || http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
Und trank die Milch vom Paradies.            -- Coleridge (tr. Politzer)

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