The regrettable use of "all" in Section 7 of the GPL
Mahesh T. Pai
paivakil at vsnl.net
Thu Feb 19 15:29:17 UTC 2004
John Cowan said on Thu, Feb 19, 2004 at 08:23:01AM -0500,:
> Now I point out that there are various persons who, as a condition
> of their parole or probation, are not permitted to touch computers.
> 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.
That is a problem with the law, not with the GNU GPL. The GPL ccannot,
and does not seek to override the law.
You need to clarify what you mean by `distribution of GNU s/w to them
is forbidden by law'. Can I still give them non-free (or did you mean
The next part of your question, `... and if they do happen to have GNU
s/o on any computers they may own, they cannot redistribute it.' GPL
does not really apply in most jurisdictions* if a person does not want
to redistribute the software.
* I think that in some jurisdictions, the users cannot modify software
for their own use. AFAIK.
> Therefore, the distribution of all GPLed software is, at least in
> the U.S., forbidden by the terms of the GPL, and should come to a
> screeching halt. I have spoken.
This is a logical fallcay. I fail to recall tht exact term. But the
rule is this:-
Statement 1:- X implies Y
Statement 2:- Y implies Z
Statement 1 and 2 does not mean that X implies Z. It would have been
different if the statements *both* were *is* instead of implies. It
does not help if the 2nd statement alone was `implies'.
Mahesh T. Pai, LL.M.,
'NANDINI', S. R. M. Road,
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