GPLv2 'web-app loophole'
Rod Dixon, J.D., LL.M.
rod at cyberspaces.org
Mon Aug 13 01:05:28 UTC 2001
Yes! The section you site does relate to the RAM issue, and judicial
interpretation has not altered that point. I agree with you that for the
most part the GPL is not relevant to section 117 (especially as to the
web-app issue) in as much as the right to copy is not restricted by the GNU
GPL. The one circumstance that comes to mind where the GPL might pose a
conflict with section 117 is related to our discussion of linking libraries
under the GPL. As you can see, the restrictive GPL could present an ironic
conundrum for the open source user since the right it might limit would be
permissible under copyright law.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Blake Cretney [mailto:bcretney at postmark.net]
> Sent: Sunday, August 12, 2001 7:52 PM
> To: license-discuss at opensource.org
> Subject: Re: GPLv2 'web-app loophole'
> On Wed, 8 Aug 2001 18:15:26 +0100
> "SamBC" <sambc at nights.force9.co.uk> wrote:
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: Rod Dixon, J.D., LL.M. [mailto:rod at cyberspaces.org]
> > >
> > > This sounds like "much ado about nothing." As is well-known,
> > > software is not
> > > an easy fit within copyright doctrine. I am unsure whether there
> is a
> > > relevant distinction between "use" and copy as far as software is
> > > concerned.
> > > Copyright interests are invoked when one "uses" software as long
> as the
> > > prevailing view is that a RAM copy is a *copy* as that terms is
> > > defined and
> > > understood by reference to the Copyright Act. Hence, I doubt
> > > whether an ASP
> > > or a "web-app" presents a case for a loophole in the GPL.
> > My understanding was that copyright law allows that copying
> 'necessary for
> > normal use' is not considered copying under copyright law.
> > IANAL, but I'm sure I read this somewhere (in a legal document or
> > IIRC)
> > SamBC
> Here is the section of the US copyright act, seemingly dealing with
> this issue.
> 117.(a) MAKING AN ADDITIONAL COPY OR ADAPTATION BY OWNER OF COPY --
> Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106, it is not an
> infringement for the owner of a copy of a computer program to make or
> authorize the making of another copy or adaptation of that computer
> program provided:
> (1) that such a new copy or adaptation is created as an essential step
> in the utilization of the computer program in conjunction with a
> machine and that it is used in no other manner, or
> I'm not a lawyer. Judicial interpretation takes precedence over
> legislated law, so this provision may no longer have any affect. Note
> that this section doesn't actually contradict the theory that a RAM
> copy is a copy under the act. It doesn't say that a RAM copy isn't a
> copy under the act, it just seems to say that it is a legal copy, if
> it is essential to the utilization of the program ...
> Also, presumably, this doesn't apply if the software user doesn't own
> the copy. License agreements often claim this kind of thing. The GPL
> does not, though (seemingly).
> Blake Cretney
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