The regrettable use of "all" in Section 7 of the GPL

Arnoud Engelfriet galactus at
Thu Feb 19 13:59:57 UTC 2004

John Cowan wrote:
> Now I point out that there are various persons who, as a condition of
> their parole or probation, are not permitted to touch computers.

Does that mean others are forbidden from *giving* them software,
or they violate their parole if they _receive_ software? In other
words, who goes to jail if those persons end up with software
in violation of that condition? 

> Distribution of GNU software to them is forbidden by law, and if they
> do happen to have GNU software on any computers they may own, they
> cannot redistribute it.  Note that this disability is legal, not
> merely physical, short of fleeing the jurisdiction, itself a criminal
> offense.

The restriction of distribution would apply to the person on parole,
not to the rest of the world. "If YOU cannot distribute so as to
satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this License and any
other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence YOU may not
distribute the Program at all." So the rest of the world can keep
on distributing.


Arnoud Engelfriet, Dutch patent attorney - Speaking only for myself
Patents, copyright and IPR explained for techies:
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