Ian Lance Taylor ian at
Thu Oct 24 18:08:14 UTC 2002

"Ken Brown" <kenbrown at> writes:

> This is particularly precarious when the GPL itself says that there is
> unmitigated circulation of the work which is completely opposite of the
> basic definition of copyright.  If you cannot control distribution or
> modification, you do not have "copyrights."   Noel, I put my code in the
> general public pool because I don't to make any money from it.  So I get
> credit...big deal.  Credit is entirely different from enforceable
> copyrights.

The copyright holder of GPL code has rights which are not possessed by
anybody else.  Specifically, for code to which I hold the copyright, I
can sell the code under a license which is not the GPL--in other
words, I can permit a license buyout.  Nobody else has that right.

> Ex:  I own a piece of property...but at anytime, anybody in the General
> Public can use it, dig it up, change it, etc.  How can you say I have
> ownership of the property?

Making analogies between physical property and intellectual property
is perilous.  If somebody changes physical property, they've affected
me directly.  If somebody changes their own copy of my intellectual
property, they have not affected me at all.

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