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Re: May I publish a Windows Installer for GNU Emacs?

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: May I publish a Windows Installer for GNU Emacs?
Date: 18 Sep 2003 15:05:09 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.09 (Gnus v5.9.0) Emacs/21.3.50

Richard Stallman <address@hidden> writes:

>     > Under copyright law, you are free to run this copy of GNU Emacs.
>     Actually, not even that is true.  If I steal some Linux CD's
>     including only free software, I don't acquire the right to run the
>     software.
> If they are truly Linux CDs, you could not run them anyway, since a
> kernel alone won't run.  But if they were CDs of a released version of
> GNU/Linux, then you could run them.
> I discussed this issue with our lawyer, and we concluded that if
> there was no trade secret in the code you stole, you do have the GPL
> rights in using it.

Sure?  It is not copyright that is relevant here, it is the usual
criminal code.  Copyright tells you about your rights when you have
acquired a copy of something, but theft is not a legal acquisition.
You are not permitted to make use of stolen goods.  You could not sue
for breach of copyright but for employment of stolen goods, and the
party that could sue is not the copyright holder, but rather the legal
owner of the copy.

But I don't see how the recipient of a theft would gain license rights
unless being granted those after the fact from the copyright holder.
There was no transaction putting him into legal possession of a copy.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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