OSD modification regarding what license can require of user

John Cowan jcowan at reutershealth.com
Wed Mar 13 22:07:37 UTC 2002

Bruce Perens scripsit:

> Well, I could answer that in two, conflicting ways. If distribution becomes
> irrelevant, the spirit of the GPL in that respect is obsolete, isn't it?

I don't see how that could happen, unless bandwidth (including the last
mile) becomes "too cheap to meter".

> On the other hand, Richard treats this as a privacy issue. I contend that a
> publicly performed GPL work with a private implementation does indeed contradict
> the spirit of the GPL.

It's not at all clear to me that when I send you bits, you massage them
on your own computer, and you send me different bits back, that this
constitutes a public performance of anything.  It sounds a lot more like
research or consulting.

Suppose A publishes a GPLed book describing some arcane subject, and B obtains a
copy of it.  C now mails questions to B along with payment, and B answers
the questions out of the book and mails back the replies.  In principle,
C could read the book himself, but may not have the time or desire.)  Surely A's
rights are not impinged on here?

Are things different if B adds his own marginal notes to the book?  Is B really
required by (the spirit of) the GPL to make those notes available to C?

> This has always been sort of vague to me, because it's not clear if a corporation
> and all of its employees are a single entity, or if [...]

I agree that all this is sticky.

John Cowan <jcowan at reutershealth.com>     http://www.reutershealth.com
I amar prestar aen, han mathon ne nen,    http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
han mathon ne chae, a han noston ne 'wilith.  --Galadriel, _LOTR:FOTR_
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