John Cowan jcowan at
Thu Oct 24 17:17:59 UTC 2002

Ken Brown scripsit:

> This answer is duplicitous.

I take offense at the application of this term to me.

duplicity:  the belying of one's true intentions by deceptive words or action

> I think Sujita has a point.  One of the central
> purposes of the GPL is to discourage sending the property
> back into the realm of the General Public.  To quote RS, to make the
> property "valueless commercially ...consequently free."  A
> copyright/ownership/credit model are functions of proprietary models.

All GPLed works are copyrighted and consequently have copyright owners.
As for credit, which is what's at stake here, the FSF considers it so
important that they try to convince people to say "GNU/Linux" instead of
"Linux" in order that they receive (what they believe to be) proper
credit for it.  They are very far from believing that credit for the work
that one has done is unimportant, proprietary, or subject to high-handed
deletion by downstream maintainers.

(I have copied RMS on this reply.)

> I guess I also disagree with the morality point.  If the ethic of general
> public ownership

It's called the GPL because it assigns certain rights to everyone, not because
it makes everyone (or some abstract entity called "the general public")
the owner.

> is fairness and freedom for all, then why should some
> people insist on ownership while others have give it up?  In sum, if Sujita
> would like to take any code or program from the General Public and do
> anything with it, the terms of the license dictate that as long as he
> understands that it remains the "property" of the  General Public, is has
> 100% freedom to do so...with our without credit to any commercial or private
> entity.

The GNU GPL (clause 1) explicitly says:

# 1.  You may copy and distribute verbatim copies of the Program's source
# code as you receive it, in any medium, provided that you conspicuously
# and appropriately publish on each copy an appropriate copyright notice
# and disclaimer of warranty; keep intact all the notices that refer to
# this License and to the absence of any warranty; and give any other
# recipients of the Program a copy of this License along with the Program.

So you are not "100% free" to remove the copyright notice.  Indeed, you
are 0% free to do so.

John Cowan                              jcowan at    
Thor Heyerdahl recounts his attempt to prove Rudyard Kipling's theory
that the mongoose first came to India on a raft from Polynesia.
        --blurb for _Rikki-Kon-Tiki-Tavi_
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