IPL as a burden

Ben Tilly ben_tilly at hotmail.com
Wed Jan 17 21:03:35 UTC 2001

"Carter Bullard" <carter at qosient.com> wrote:
>Gentle people,
>I'm not a laywer so if I'm missing something, please fill in.

IANAL as well.

> > From: Gregor Hoffleit [mailto:gregor at mediasupervision.de]
> >
> > Well, the GPL says this:
> >
> >     "Activities other than copying, distribution and
> > modification are not
> > covered by this License; they are outside its scope."
>Appears that the GPL does not grant any rights
>relating to executing the Program based on this clause.

That appears correct.

> > "The act of running the Program is not restricted, and
> > the output from the Program is covered only if its contents
> > constitute a work based on the Program (independent of
> > having been made by running the Program). Whether that is
> > true depends on what the Program does."
>The act of executing the Program is not restricted, but it
>also doesn't appear to be granted by the GPL, as it is out
>of scope of the GPL.  Even when the output of the Program
>is "covered", there is no text describing what rights would
>be granted to the user of the output.  Although there may be
>an implication that the GPL may allow the user to "copy,
>distribute and modify" the Program output, that doesn't
>implicitly grant any rights to the use of the output.
That is correct.  If I use a GPLed compiler, and the
output does not qualify under copyright law as a work
based on the compiler, then the binary which results
need not be GPLed.

The GPL is based on having copyright.  If the author of
the GPLed software does not have copyright on the final
product of the work, then how can they put a copyright
license on it?

> > and
> >
> >   "6. Each time you redistribute the Program (or any work based on the
> > Program), the recipient automatically receives a license from the
> > original licensor to copy, distribute or modify the Program subject to
> > these terms and conditions.  You may not impose any further
> > restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein.
> > You are not responsible for enforcing compliance by third parties to
> > this License."
> >
> >
>Because the recipients' rights granted by the GPL do not apply to
>executing the Program, restrictions on executing the Program would
>not impose any further restrictions on any rights granted by the
My understanding is that the copy of the software that you
get is yours.  Your use of your software is covered in
copyright law under "fair use".  This is not equivalent to
a standard commercial license where you do not own the
bits sitting inside of your computer, but have merely
licensed the right to use them.

Whether the latter should be legally valid has been a
subject of some debate.  The industry dearly wants it to be
so, and is currently trying to get UCITA passed, which
would codify it in laws.  Consumer advocates are of the
opinion that not only should it not be so, but that it is
high time for some lemon laws.

Open source software does not stand to benefit from UCITA,
but could stand to lose from lemon laws.  All factors
considered, it is likely that open source software would
receive some loophole in any lemon laws that were passed.
>Carter Bullard
>QoSient, LLC
>300 E. 56th Street, Suite 18K
>New York, New York  10022
>carter at qosient.com
>Phone +1 212 813-9426
>Fax   +1 212 813-9426
People who put their addresses in email always astound me.
You never know what nut might be just a few blocks away. *


* Me for instance!  (No joke.)
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