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

Mahesh T. Pai paivakil at
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
non-gnu-but-free?) software?

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,               
  Ernakulam, Cochin-682018,               
  Kerala, India.                          
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