OpenSource may not disallow it

Bruce Perens bruce at
Sun Mar 15 15:43:45 UTC 2009

HDE Weird wrote:
> One question about OpenSource and its definition. If I did understand it correctly, an OpenSource license does not ever disallow people doing anything using OpenSource software, otherwise it is not an OpenSource license. So, an OpenSource license may not disallow users breking the OpenSource license, like including parts of OpenSource code in commercial closed-source programs, if they do it using open-source programs. Right?
Everybody else has already said "obviously no", but I'll attempt to 
explain why.

Copyright law deals with a number of separate rights. Producing a copy 
is one right. Making a modification (a derivative work) is another 
right. Using the program is another right.

People who don't deal with copyright law tend to think that "use" means 
"do anything at all with the program". But that's not true in this case. 
Use is running the program and reading the program. Copying the program 
is different from use. Making a modification is different from use.



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