(OT) - Major Blow to Copyleft Theory
matthew.flaschen at gatech.edu
Tue Aug 28 08:58:15 UTC 2007
Alexander Terekhov wrote:
> In particular, there are a couple of mistatements of the law there.
> The first is that "nothing else grants you permission to modify ...
> the Program."
That statement may be mistakenly broad, but it doesn't matter. GPLv2
allows unmodified backup copies, so who cares if the law does too.
> There is nothing in the GPL that says that a person is not the "owner
> of a copy" of the program.
No, and it's questionable whether such statements have any legal validity.
> The second is that "nothing else grants you permission to ...
> distribute the program."
> 17 USC 109(a) states that:
> Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106(3), the owner
> of a particular copy or phonorecord lawfully made under this
> title, or any person authorized by such owner, is entitled,
> without the authority of the copyright owner, to sell or otherwise
> dispose of the possession of that copy or phonorecord.
> However, you can't dispose of the possession of a computer program by
> rental or lending. See 17 USC 109(b).
Again, this doesn't matter because the license grants this right.
> So, a more accurate statement would be:
> However, nothing else grants you permission to modify AND
> distribute the Program or its derivative works. These actions are
> prohibited by law if you do not accept this License.
Agreed. That's why GPLv3 says, "This License acknowledges your rights
of fair use or other equivalent, as provided by copyright law."
>> "Licenses are not contracts: the work's user is obliged to remain
>> within the bounds of the license not because she voluntarily promised,
>> but because she doesn't have any right to act at all except as the
>> license permits." [quoting Eben Moglen]
> That might be true IF "she doesn't have any right to act at all except
> as the license permits."
It's still true for anything not already allowed by copyright law (i.e.
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